Wednesday, 30 May 2018 10:57

WorkPac picks Pure

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Recruitment and workforce management provider WorkPac Group has been impressed by the simplicity and performance of its Pure Storage arrays.

ICT services network manager Damien Albiez told iTWire that the company was due for a storage refresh around September 2017, and wanted to take advantage of hardware improvements as well as positioning itself to handle anticipated growth (which turned out to be 50%) in the number of contractors on its books.

After comparing incumbent storage vendor NetApp with Nimble and Pure Storage, WorkPac selected Pure.

Pure's Evergreen model, allowing non-disruptive software, controller and storage upgrades, gave it an edge, Albiez told iTWire, though at that time "we didn't really understand the simplicity of Pure".

The Pure hardware was installed about August 2017, and migration was straightforward thanks to the already virtualised workloads.

WorkPac's homegrown payroll software benefited from improved performance. This was important, because contractors often regard the arrival of their payslips as the sign that they have been paid, even if the money had been previously been transferred to their bank accounts.

And there were "pretty remarkable improvements in back-up", he said, in some cases reducing the time taken from hours to minutes. The time saved is put to use by increasing the maintenance windows for the various systems. Pure Storage devices have very high availability even when planned downtime is included (because planned downtime is extremely rare), but other parts of the overall system sometimes need work.

The retirement of all spinning disks has "been a terrific thing all round", Albiez said. "The immediate improvement was pretty obvious." One example is that WorkPac uses Citrix software to publish applications to its remote office, and the user experience has improved significantly, with faster logins, for instance.

"The data centre is a different place," he observed. "We just don't think about storage any more."

Short-term plans include going live with ActiveCluster (the Purity feature for synchronous replication) for SQL Server across the company's two data centres in the next few weeks. "It seems too simple," said Albiez. After that, WorkPac will investigate using ActiveCluster for other workloads.

Disclosure: The writer attended Pure Accelerate as a guest of the company.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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