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An Insider's Look at HPE SimpliVity: Carolina Sunrock

HPE SimpliVity Insiders View.jpgThree years ago, legacy IT systems were getting in the way of production at Carolina Sunrock, a construction materials supplier in North Carolina. Jim Malone, Manager of Information Technology, had been with Sunrock for 6 years and fully understood the challenges the company faced to improve backup and performance. He did extensive research before migrating to HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), and today he has only one regret.

Here is Jim Malone’s story, in his own words.



The challenge: Poor system performance

Carolina Sunrock offers a one-stop shopping experience for our customers, producing aggregates, asphalt and concrete as well as a full line of contracting services. We have industry-specific software that we use in our day-to-day operations, and it is highly dependent on traffic between our locations. Our old system had slowed to the point where we really couldn’t do our job effectively.

hpe-simplivity-hyperconverged-carolina-sunrock-SDCG.jpgBut that wasn’t the biggest reason we started looking into a technology refresh. Backups were taking all night and into the next day. I was starting backups at around 11 o’clock PM, and they were still running when people came in to work in the morning. It was cutting into production and slowing everybody down.

Why choose a hyperconverged solution?

We needed a technology refresh. Costs were a concern and better performance was a must. Hyperconverged infrastructure appeared to satisfy both of those issues. Also, HCI looked like a good fit for the data center, and a great option for our remote sites because of the scalability. We had 10 sites and we were looking at growing the business. I needed to know our new infrastructure could grow with us.

I did my research. I wasn’t going to take anyone’s word for how good their solution was. One promising system got dismissed early because of cost. Eventually, I narrowed it down to three candidates and ran bench tests, actually set up a lab and did some hard tests, literally pulling out some drives. One solution failed completely. HPE SimpliVity did not, so I began to look closer. As hard and as deep as I looked, every one of the HPE SimpliVity claims was substantiated, and that spoke volumes to me.

The results

When we decided to buy, we went full bore with HPE SimpliVity. We set up a cluster in the data center and deployed backup nodes in a secondary site. Since swapping over, my admiration for the technology has done nothing but increase.

  • Amazing performance: What used to take close to 12 hours to back up our entire VM environment is now accomplished in less than 5 minutes. It was so fast, I originally thought the system wasn’t working – it just didn’t seem possible.
  • Unbelievable data protection: Shortly after swapping over to HCI, we were hit with a CryptoLocker virus. It took about an hour to find out where the virus was coming from. Because we had HPE SimpliVity, I was able to restore our data and have our Citrix server back online in 45 seconds.

Looking back – a single regret

The responsiveness of HPE SimpliVity and integration with our other technologies has been astounding. Our company is growing, and it’s nice to know I can add a couple of nodes to our environment whenever I need to. As a matter of fact, looking back at the tech refresh experience, I only have one regret: I wish I had done it sooner.

Tips for customers considering HCI

  • Do your research.I kept track of everything the SimpliVity engineers said. I couldn’t find any holes in what they told me back then, and I still can’t to this day.
  • Talk to other HPE SimpliVity customers. And keep talking to them after you get set up. Now and then, I will go in and ask a question online, and people in the advocacy group get back to me almost immediately.


Read more about Jim Malone’s Carolina Sunrock story at:



HPE SimpliVity Insiders is a user community for current hyperconverged technology customers. Users share tips, and are eligible for HPE rewards and exclusive access to the extended HPE SimpliVity team. If you’d like to be invited to join the community, contact


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About the Author


I’ve been with HP/HPE for over 12 years covering data storage, software-defined storage, and now hyperconvergence and software-defined infrastructure as part of the HPE Storage team.