Governments shopping for new digital infrastructure today find a market saturated with choices. The city of Mesquite, Nev., last year saw that its storage area network (SAN) was reaching the end of its life and began shopping for a replacement. The city, which serves about 15,000 citizens, found it could save money by upgrading its storage and servers together by installing three OmniCubes, an all-in-one solution sold by Simplivity. The company claims the city saw a performance improvement of 25 percent and a storage capacity savings of 50-to-1.

City officials said they chose Simplivity because it was far less expensive than what other vendors were offering. Simplivity CEO Doron Kempel said OmniCube provides a solution that costs three times less than traditional infrastructure, and is far less complex. Organizations want the “cloud economy” that large organizations get, but they also want a rich feature set without needing to support all the different pieces of equipment, he said. “We founded the company in 2009 and our mission was to simplify IT,” he said. “And when we say simplify, we want to allow our customers, like the city of Mesquite, the best of both worlds.”

Mesquite installed three OmniCubes, two in its primary data center hosting more than 40 applications, and the second in another site used for disaster recovery.

City IT Manager Dirk Marshall said there were a lot of options in the marketplace. “We looked at most of the bigger providers for SAN storage and they were very expensive for what we would get,” he said. “We were still exploring, looking for other options and we came across Simplivity and it was a little bit of a different scenario because it was not just storage but would include the servers and several other components such as de-duplication, which we didn’t have.”

According to Marshall, the total cost with Simplivity was less than what it would have cost to purchase one storage array from one of the other vendors. Anytime a product makes big claims, there’s always concern that they won’t pan out, but in this case, city officials are happy with the solution, Marshall said.

“A large part of our concerns were really negated from the fact that the interface used to control the Simplivity devices is right in VMware’s vCenter and so that made it a lot easier,” he said, adding that the city had been using VMware for years, so learning how to operate the system was easy.

Installation took about one day and the only problem they had was that they underestimated how much RAM Mesquite needed. Simplivity was able to upgrade it from 128 GB to 256 GB for a small fee, he said.

“This does provide a significant amount of data de-duplication and data compression, so the amount of storage you need is actually a lot less if you didn’t have those capabilities previously,” he said. “We’re getting by with a lot less storage than we had previously which is something that’s obviously very valuable. We definitely felt like we’ve taken a step forward from where we were.”

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Aug. 12, 2014 to correct an error regarding how many OmniCubes the city was using.

Colin Wood Colin Wood  |  Staff Writer

Colin has been writing for Government Technology since 2010. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their dog. He can be reached at cwood@govtech.com and on Google+.