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GVB:  Elevating Data Management for Optimal Operations

Enhancing Efficiency and Performance at GVB with Pure Storage Array

Gebäudeversicherung Bern (GVB), established in 1807, is a leading Swiss building insurance provider. To facilitate efficient work for its employees, GVB relies on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). When the existing disk-based storage system no longer met the demands of their VDI environment, GVB opted for a Pure Storage® FlashArray as a replacement. Today, application response times are significantly reduced, IT processes are expedited, and the company has established a robust foundation for future growth.


The Business Transformation of GVB

For over 200 years, GVB has been insuring all buildings in the Canton of Bern against fire and elemental damage. Employees across the entire company now enjoy faster and more reliable access to the main applications they need for their work. Simultaneously, the storage management tasks of the IT department have nearly disappeared completely.


Securing with Confidence: Gebäudeversicherung Bern Adopts Pure Storage Array

For over two centuries, Gebäudeversicherung Bern has been insuring all buildings in the canton of Bern. To grant access to applications for its 200 internal clerks and 160 external appraisal experts spread across the canton, GVB Group and its subsidiaries have been relying on a VDI environment based on VMware Horizon. Virtual desktops are generated anew upon each user login, using two Golden Images as sources for automatic replication. Applications are managed and allocated in groups using Microsoft AppLocker.

With approximately 220 employees utilizing applications through the VDI system daily, a significant amount of data is read and written, generating substantial data volumes.

"As a building insurer, providing quick and uncomplicated assistance in the event of damage is essential for us," explains Nils Wenger from GVB


Project Overview


The Pure Storage Array has brought about a noticeable transformation in users' daily experiences. While the disk-based system exhibited response times of 10 to 20 ms, the latency of the Pure Storage system for read and write operations consistently remains under 0.5 ms – even during peak times. Data compression is achieved at a ratio of 7:1.

"The technology has truly convinced us. Data is written only once, and this naturally has tremendous implications for the entire system," states Wenger.

Significant time savings are also evident for the IT team: Replicating the roughly 50 GB Golden Images took an average of 15 minutes. With the new flash storage, this process is completed in just under a minute. Pure Storage significantly streamlines resource-intensive tasks such as essential system updates and software package deployment. Backup times for VDI servers that previously took up to five hours, and were impossible during operation, can now be executed during regular operation within an hour – without compromising performance.

Simplified Storage Management at Your Fingertips

Another positive effect of transitioning to Pure Storage is the minimal effort required for storage system management. Resource distribution is checked daily, and little more needs to be done. Since its implementation in September 2015, the system has been running without disruptions.

"You quickly get used to smooth operations. For us, it's always a good sign when the IT department doesn't hear much from clerks or external teams. They approach us immediately when problems arise. It's wonderful to see that a system can be put into operation worry-free and simply run," Wenger affirms.

With the new hardware, GVB can further optimize and develop its VDI. Plans include virtualizing CAD workstations, which will greatly benefit from the high write speed of the Pure Storage system. The system's capacity for future growth is more than adequate, as evident from the nearly latency-free operation of 320 virtual machines during peak times. Expansion of the storage system is also in the pipeline. The IT team was so impressed by the performance and efficiency of the installed 5TB array that they intend to migrate all servers and data to an expanded Pure Storage system. Testing reduced the clone time of the productive SAP system from 1 hour and 10 minutes to 4 minutes.

"Currently, the new storage infrastructure is being held back by the old system. It functions as a data pool in the VDI, connected to virtual workstations through Folder Direction," explains Nils Wenger, providing context.

The migration to Pure Storage promises an additional performance boost and a noticeable improvement for users.

"We were genuinely impressed with Pure Storage's innovative technology in administration," Wenger adds. "The system offers exceptional performance and reliability, coupled with effortless system management. Opting for Pure Storage was the right decision."

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