Using VirtualWisdom to optimize storage performance, troubleshoot SAN issues, reduce costs, and better business outcomes

Customer Story and Case Study

Company Overview

Sprint is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United States, currently serving over 54 million wireless and wireline customers. As an organization, Sprint has three main goals: strengthen and grow the Sprint brand; generate revenue to support and sustain long-term growth; and provide excellent customer experience and satisfaction. Sprint’s IT organization consists of 4 datacenters with 6,000 hosts, and a 30 petabyte SAN environment.

Sprint's IT team needed an analytics platform to help solve performance issues

After noticing increasing performance challenges across their infrastructure, Sprint turned to Virtual Instruments to help pinpoint and solve some very specific issues. And VirtualWisdom did just that—and very quickly.

“Within an hour of turning it up, we started to see SAN flow problems that we’ve never been able to isolate before. Specifically, we found a buffer-to-buffer credit starvation issue that had impacted our dot-com environment,” said Josh Morton, vice president of IT services at Sprint.

With that kind of efficiency, Morton was impressed. “With the early successes there, we decided to deploy VirtualWisdom to the rest of our storage environment. Like the early deployments, installation was a snap. It took a matter of weeks and was non-disruptive to ongoing operations.”

Finding issues they didn't even know they had, and solving ones they did

Once VirtualWisdom was implemented across their entire storage infrastructure, problem-solving and troubleshooting became a breeze. “We had a VMware environment that had been having chronic performance problems, and with VirtualWisdom we were able to identify and isolate that problem, and improve response time by over 90%,” said Morton.

But it didn’t just stop there.

“With VirtualWisdom in our environment we were able to tune and optimize overall SAN performance and improve I/O response time by 50% […] Based on our experience with VirtualWisdom, we’ve seen phenomenal gains within Sprint. When we look at what’s available within the marketplace, we really don’t see much comparable products out there that can do the same kind of stuff.”

Realizing tremendous cost benefits

Sprint has been able to use the answers provided by VirtualWisdom to help them realize some amazing cost savings and optimize their infrastructure. Morton lists three major areas they’ve focused on:

  • Optimizing storage balancing: placing application storage is in the most economical place while ensuring that the applications get the performance they require
  • Increased storage utilization: use storage that they already have and to the capacity necessary without overprovisioning
  • Eliminate other high-priced tools that gave limited visibility: VirtualWisdom provided a deeper and broader set of analytics and insight into the infrastructure data than was available from any other individual tool

Overall, Morton said, “We’ve seen both the economic gains and manageability improvements in our environment, and we’ve been able to achieve the high utilization and performance expectations that our customers are looking for.”

Moving from reactive to proactive

Knowing about issues before they impact customers is one of the crystal balls than any IT department dreams of. And with VirtualWisdom, Sprint gets that kind of insight. Morton concludes, “I sleep better at night knowing I have all the data that I need at our fingertips to be able to isolate, pinpoint, and resolve problems usually before our customers even know about it.”


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