Pure Storage’s cloud-based As-a-Service solutions offer a number of benefits, but for Chapman University – a private liberal arts university in Southern California – it offered a huge increase in performance automation possibilities.

In an interview with MeriTalk, James Kelly, senior systems administrator on the research technology support group at Chapman University, explained how installing Pure Storage’s all-flash array has been a game changer for automation.

“From a user’s point of view, [Pure Storage] seems to be very, very focused on squeezing every bit of ease of use out of the possibilities offered by ditching the disc metaphor and really moving to a product that allows you to connect it to different things in new ways that would have been impossible before and offer great opportunities to automate things,” Kelly said.

After installing the Pure Storage array, Kelly said Chapman was able to accelerate its plans to virtualize its production database servers and reduce cognitive load.

“By actually moving our production database storage into the Pure Storage array that we bought, and then, soon after that, virtualizing it, we basically eliminated that entire amount of incredible complexity,” Kelly said. “Talk about lowering cognitive load from our whole environment, and without that, it just ran faster, which was shocking.”

The virtualization of those databases has allowed Chapman to focus on automation by providing tools such as snapshot replication and active clustering, he said.

“Pure basically enabled us to pull it off. And what we got at that point was then everything was automation,” Kelly said. “Once you virtualize a server, it’s just software at that point. You know, I can do whatever I want to it and there’s APIs [application programming interfaces] for everything. And Pure went out of their way… to stay incredibly up to date and tightly integrated with VMware’s own APIs and with their integration technology.”

Kelly noted that before Pure Storage, cloning a database would take about a day and a half of work. Now, Chapman is able to complete the automation process in just 10 to 15 minutes.

“I could use Pure’s automation to copy things without copying them essentially. I could clone the underlying storage underneath all these VMs [virtual machines] and these database VMs,” he said. “I could just push a button. It wasn’t like saving a third of the time – which would have been spectacular – or saving half the time – which would have been amazing. It literally went from more than a day to 10 to 15 minutes.”

Additionally, Kelly said Chapman also turned to its automation capabilities in order to bolster its cybersecurity defenses. With an increase in cyberattacks on both K-12 and higher education institutions, he stressed how important automation was to close the university’s cyber gaps.

“What we’ve done to protect against the cryptographic ransom vulnerabilities has been make sure that everything was securely protected using technologies that we could trust to make second copies, make immutable copies,” Kelly said.

“As we started to address all of those concerns, you know, we needed to lean on … as much as anything, we leaned again on that automation [from Pure],” he added. “There are only so many details one human can hold in their head.”

To learn more about Pure Storage and Chapman’s new automation capabilities, check out their case study.

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