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Scale Computing and Brocade Give Growing Engineering Firm Power and Performance for Critical Applications and Data
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:40:23 AM

Scale Computing

The Thrasher Group, a civil engineering firm specializing in public infrastructure, has expanded its hyperconverged storage, server, and virtualization environment with Scale Computing and Brocade, enabling Thrasher to meet growing data and network demands of complex applications without a complex remodel.

The HC3 platform from Scale Computing, the market leader in hyperconverged solutions for midsized companies, along with a Brocade-powered network, formed the foundation of an expanded infrastructure capable of handling increased data volumes from aerial and drone mapping, CAD files, video, renderings, and other vital applications.

Founded in 1983 as a civil engineering firm focused on public utility infrastructure in North Central West Virginia, Thrasher has grown into a multi-disciplinary engineering, architecture, and survey firm, one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic region. Thrasher’s projects include critical water, sewer, roadways, bridges and airports, master planning, landscape architecture, and more, for public and more recently private clients such as electricity, fiber, oil and gas companies.

Scale Computing, a member of the Storage and Hyperconverged alliance within Brocade’s Strategic Collaboration Program, was Thrasher’s incumbent vendor. IT manager Brad Fortney knew he could build on his existing Scale hyperconverged platform and refresh the network to support exponential growth. Thrasher deployed Brocade VDX data center switches and Brocade Ruckus ICX campus switches to provide networking between the hyperconverged platforms. This significantly accelerated application performance for engineers, reducing the time to load a large CAD file from 30 to 40 seconds to less than 10 seconds. Thrasher continues to add HC3 nodes and has over 20 nodes in production to handle the demanding environment. Both sites support just under 100 terabytes of data, and business applications such as email, accounting, printing, CAD, and telephony. Using Brocade Network Advisor, Fortney has an end-to-end view of everything, including the state of the network’s health. Real-time replication means production can fail over to the secondary site at the touch of a button with no user impact.

“Thrasher’s goal is to be a one-stop shop for clients. When clients ask for a new service, we want to respond quickly,” said Fortney. “That’s why we need agile, scalable IT solutions, which the Brocade and Scale Computing products have given us.”

Between Fortney and one other employee on help desk duty, the IT team of two can support 280 employees at multiple locations.

“We can manage this infrastructure because it doesn’t need care and feeding every day,” said Fortney. “It’s performing great. When I asked users how things were going, they said ‘this is awesome, this is fast.’ The engineers love it.”

“For hyperconverged systems to meet the performance and availability demands of mission-critical applications, networking must be an integral part of the design,” said Andrew Coward, vice president of strategy at Brocade. “With Brocade and Scale Computing, Thrasher Engineering has an agile and scalable IT infrastructure that allows them to quickly add new services to meet these high demands.”

Scale Computing’s HC3 platform brings storage, servers, virtualization and management together in a single, comprehensive system. With no virtualization software to license and no external storage to buy, HC3 products lower out-of-pocket costs and radically simplify the infrastructure needed to keep applications running. HC3 products make the deployment and management of a highly available and scalable infrastructure as easy to manage as a single server.

“Thrasher Group was already a winning case study for the benefits of hyperconvergence via HC3, but with their rapid expansion and the need for additional infrastructure, they’re showing how simple, scalable, and flexible it is as a company grows,” said Jeff Ready, CEO, and co-founder of Scale Computing. “We appreciate being able to collaborate on this project with Brocade, who have provided Thrasher with outstanding network performance to support its superior hyperconvergence.”

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