iGov Virtualizes Storage With VMware to Meet an Extreme Challenge

“When we first saw the new requirements, we thought it was going to be impossible,” says Kirk Johnson, systems engineering manager at iGov Technologies. Johnson was referring to a federal government customer that wanted to upgrade its tactical network to a more portable version. The new, improved solution needed to consume less power; the hardware footprint had to be lighter and smaller for easier transportation; and the entire network needed to be rugged enough to function reliably in harsh environments.

Expertise With Extremes

iGov Technologies specializes in building mobile, ruggedized communication, networking, and computing solutions for rapid global deployment and reliable operation in austere environments. Its products include a family of networks that enable communications for U.S. military forces in the field. Still, the task at hand for the federal government customer was challenging.

The breakthrough idea for a solution to this challenge came from iGov’s VMware technical account manager (TAM), who connected iGov with the VMware vSAN™ product team. vSAN software is simple enterprise-class storage for VMware hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. 

We almost fell out of our chairs when we saw the performance from this tiny little server running Virtual SAN. It was staggering. The numbers we got were just unbelievable.

Tom Lynott, Software Engineering Manager

This solution allowed iGov to “go from a traditional, 19-inch rack-mount server down to a little 12-pound cube that can fit in a duffle bag,” says Tom Lynott, software engineering manager. The reduction in size and weight was remarkable. “We took an older model and put it on the scales,” explains Johnson. “Packed to ship, it weighed 620 pounds and took up 48,000 cubic inches. Our new model with Virtual SAN cut that down to 170 pounds and 6,900 cubic inches.”

By replacing network-attached storage modules with virtualized server-attached storage, iGov reduced the total weight of the tactical network system by 75 percent. The smallest of the redesigned network systems can now be carried onto a commercial flight and stowed in an overhead compartment. However, the most impressive outcome came when iGov tested the new system’s performance.

Less Hardware, Faster Performance

The new network system operated significantly faster, “10 times faster” than their older storage system, says Lynott. “We almost fell out of our chairs when we saw the performance from this tiny little server running vSAN. It was staggering. The numbers we got were just unbelievable.”

“iGov took a hyper-converged infrastructure approach using VMware vSAN with server-side storage, subsequently reducing the weight by 75 percent, improving storage performance by 10x, and extending battery run time by 7x,” says Mike Tyrrell, iGov’s COO and president. With the success of this redesigned tactical network product line, iGov is now responding to additional customer requests to replace legacy, conventional storage with hyper-converged infrastructure. “We expect to move quickly into operational testing and should begin fielding by the end of this year.”

iGov’s ability to meet “impossible” challenges is one reason for its loyal customer base. That ability proves especially critical in environments where the risks associated with poor performance can bring more serious consequences than just lost revenue.