Sharks Sports & Entertainment (SSE) owns and operates a number of sports properties, most notably the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League.
SSE's main business is operating the San Jose Sharks franchise and its minor league team, the Worcester Sharks. They also manage several ice rinks and the SAP Center, which features concerts and events year round. Utilising Citrix XenDesktop, SSE began deploying a VDI environment, however as soon as 10 to 15 VDI users were added, the IT team saw an exponential decrease in performance.
The legacy disk-based SAN was unable to support the expanding virtual environment. With phase one including the migration of more than 250 users to virtual desktops, SSE needed a better storage solution.
After thoroughly comparing storage options - from traditional disk-based arrays to all-flash solutions to hybrids, SSE's director of IT Uy Ut concluded that the Pure Storage FlashArray provided the required performance along with industry leading data deduplication and compression to maximise storage utilisation. "I wanted a set-it-and-forget-it product that would give everyone tier 0 storage performance," said Ut.
Initially deployed on non-critical applications for testing purposes, SSE now uses the Pure Storage FlashArray across all of its storage workloads, including Microsoft Exchange, SQL databases, file shares, virtual applications and desktops. After deployment, there was an immediate improvement, with latency levels reduced to the sub-one millisecond. Moreover, the FlashArray has been able to easily handle the demands on applications without adding new management complexity.
SSE is enjoying the benefits of the FlashArray's data deduplication, with rates reaching as high as 12:1.
The IT team is said to appreciate the customer-first approach that Pure Storage is focused on delivering to them. According to Ut: "I feel like we are in this together and that my opinion matters. If there is ever an issue with the product, I know that the Pure Storage support team will tell me about it before I see it.
"The Pure Storage FlashArray treats every user and every application as a first class citizen. When our users don't have to think about IT, they are able to sell more tickets and put better players on the ice. That is a huge win for me."