The Town Hall in Milton, Ont., will now feature an all flash array data centre

Published: January 11th, 2017

A town known for being one of the fastest growing areas of Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region has decided on flash data storage for its data centre.

Milton, a Southern Ontario municipality with a population of more than 100,000, has secured a new FlashArray//m system from Pure Storage, a Mountain View, Calif.-based all-flash array storage vendor.

The Town of Milton switched from a legacy storage system to implementing a Pure Storage’s FlashArray//m system, which is projected to save the city $4.7 million over the next eight years, which equates to a 93 per cent savings.

“We’ve used a combination of storage solutions over the years, going from basic hard drives to traditional SAN-based solutions (Storage Area Network), which are fairly standard within data centres but also expensive to maintain,” Frank Adili, director of IT at the Town of Milton.

“Pure Storage offered us a game-changer; their flash-based solid state drive storage solutions meet all our needs and understand the complexities of operating within a municipality,” Adili added.

The newest FlashArray//m system offers up to 1.5 petabytes of storage. It also boasts 99.9999 per cent availability – with only 31.5 seconds of downtime (on average) per year – and always on Quality of Service, according to Pure Storage.

The FlashArray//m system.

Adili says that while bringing in Pure’s solution, which won its contract through tender, was a disruption to the Town’s current state of storage, it was a positive disruption. Not only was it more cost-effective to switch to solid-state storage, but it was also easy and quick to implement, easy for staff in the Town’s IT department to learn, and easily managed by a “lean” workforce, he explains.

“The traditional storage models have been in place for so long that when flash-based, solid state models started getting more inexpensive a few years ago and really became a viable option for budget-oriented local governments, that was very disruptive,” Adili says. “Pure has been a catalyst for change and introducing us to this new technology has disrupted our status quo – in a good way.”

One of the deciding factors in partnering with Pure, Adili explains, is the company’s maintenance program.

“Every three years, Pure replaces the controllers with more current up to date technology without any downtime, which is a huge win for a municipality of our size – we can’t afford any downtime,” he says, adding that there is a significant amount of downtime associated with maintaining the older traditional storage units.

Milton is home to a highly skilled, well-educated, young population, according to the Town’s Web site. The municipality has seen steady population growth every year for the past decade; expecting to hit approximately 228,000 by 2031.

Milton has been one of the early adopters of solid state data storage, Adili said, adding other cities in Ontario, and across Canada, he believes, will follow in it’s footsteps.

“There are so many reasons to move towards a solid state storage solution – it makes sense for any other municipality because we’re all faced with the same challenges,” he explains. “Anyone who doesn’t will find themselves paying significantly more money and time to maintain their current system and fall behind the times.”