• DataON CiB-9224
    DataON CiB-9470Windows 2012 R2
    Storage Spaces


  • Other

Org Size

  • 201 to 500 employees


  • United States


US Holocaust Museum Increases Storage Capacity and Reliability With Windows Server 2012 R2 and DataON

Founded in 1993, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) serves as a living memorial to the Holocaust with the goal of inspiring citizens and world leaders to confront hatred, genocide and promote human dignity. Since its opening, the USHMM has welcomed more than 40 million visitors, including 99 heads of state and more than ten million school-age children. The USHMM website ( is the world’s leading online repository on the Holocaust, is available in 16 languages, and was visited in 2015 by more than 16.5 million people representing 211 countries and territories.

IT Challenge – Beefing up the backend, IOPS and Flash storage

USHMM was seeking a new storage solution to house their security video data. USHMM operates six virtualized network video recorders, each processing multiple video feeds, with video files being kept for one month prior to being purged and rewritten. With up to dozens of video files being written and rewritten daily, a large strain was placed on USHMM storage array and its drives. USHMM begun to experience consistent drive failures averaging two failed drives a month. These consistent drive failures led to more and more time spent with RAID rebuilds.

USHMM first storage array was a specialized IP video SAN from Intransa. After five hard years of service with daily writes and rewrites, the Intransa SAN and its drives were reaching their end of life. Also, Intransa went out of business during this time, leaving USHMM with no vendor support. With failing storage infrastructure and no hope of vendor support, USHMM begun to research new storage options.

Goals For the New Storage System, and Candidate Companies

In their search for a new storage option, the USHMM set out the following goals:

  • High density / small footprint
  • 10G iSCSI connections
  • Clustered architecture and redundant controllers for improved data availability
  • Software RAID
  • Ability to support multiple drive types (HDDs, SSDs, etc.)

Initially, USHMM was evaluating a Dell SAN as their replacement for the previous storage array. While Dell’s storage option met a number of USHMM needs, hardware issues begun to sour USHMM’s evaluation. During the evaluation of the Dell SAN, a technician for USHMM attempted to test a drive failure and replacement, a common enough occurrence with their previous storage solution. The new drive failed to work with the Dell SAN, despite being the same model number. USHMM later found out that the Dell SAN required Dell-labeled drives loaded with the proprietary firmware. These drives, which needed to be purchased from Dell, were significantly more expensive than identical commodity drives which were one-third the price of the Dell supported drives. This “vendor lock-in” was unacceptable to USHMM technology team, and a new research and evaluation were called for.

Making a Microsoft Choice and DataON

After much frustration with their failing current SAN and the disappointing evaluation of Dell SAN, the USHMM IT team took a new approach. Still wanting SAN-like functionality in their storage deployment but without the price premium, USHMM looked into software-defined storage options and found Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 R2 platform. The key technology of Windows Server 2012 R2 for USHMM was Microsoft Storage Spaces, which allowed users to pool disk space in virtualized storage pools, allowing resources to be allocated efficiently. Now convinced that the USHMM would be best suited making a “Microsoft choice”, they still required a technology partner to provide an integrated solution.

“What stood out to us immediately was that many of the tests and POC deployments by Microsoft MVPs were done on DataON platforms,” said Eric Rooker, IT manager at USHMM. “Between the Windows Server certifications and partnerships with MVPs like Adian Finn and Microsoft program managers like Claus Jorgensen, I knew the logical choice for USHMM was DataON.”

Proof of Concept (POC) / Deployment

With USHMM making a “Microsoft Choice” for software-defined storage, DataON provided their hyper-converged Cluster-in-a-Box solutions, the CiB-9224, and CiB-9470. The CiB-9224 is a modular 2U chassis that supports dual compute nodes for HA resiliency. It utilizes next generation Intel Xeon processors, DDR4 memory, and provides eight SAS expansion ports for scalability. With the introduction of end-to-end 12Gb/s SAS device performance and full SSD storage, the CiB-9224 delivers 2 million Read IOPS (100%, random, 4K) and 1.18 million Write IOPS (100%, random, 4K). This purpose-built platform thrives in tiered SSD and HDD storage deployments with cluster-aware file systems.

The CiB-9470 is a high capacity and density version of DataON CiB product family. Equipped with dual compute nodes for HA resiliency, it provides high available services with failover and failback capability. The CiB-9470 offers 700TB of raw capacity via 70 3.5’” SSD/HDD drives with dual servers into a single 4U hyper-converged cluster appliance, ideal for storage-intensive applications or enterprise level storage. Hybrid storage needs are supported with tiered storage with SSD and HDD for performance, capacity, and scalability. The CiB-9470’s ultra-dense 4U chassis is built to provide low dollar-per-TB costs, space –savings and capacity demand for enterprises and hyper-scale data centers.

For USHMM there was an interesting wrinkle in the deployment. USHMM wished to still utilize their VMWare-based servers for their network video recording (NVR) tasks. With Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Spaces, it is possible to utilize the pooled storage and virtual disks with non-Microsoft hypervisors, so USHMM connected their NVRs to the Tiered Storage Spaces and SoFS clusters via 10Gb iSCSI. The result was improved storage capacity and performance while minimizing disruption to the NVR functionality.


With the deployment of DataON CiB-9224 and CiB-9470, USHMM has been able to eliminate their Instransa SAN. This resulted in USHMMs IT staff spending significantly less time on maintenance, drive replacement and RAID rebuild. USHMM also experience a major reduction in data center footprint by moving from 21U of space with their old SAN to 4U of space with a DataON deployment. USHMM has seen a 4x increase in available capacity and plans on expanding their storage even further with the deployment of two more CiB-9470 in the future.