Monday 9 November 2009

SearchStorage: School district maintains uptime - DataCore SAN Management plus Xiotech,289142,sid5_gci1373639,00.html

The Barren County, Ky., school district discovered it could make good use of management features such as thin provisioning and remote mirroring even if they're not included natively with its storage arrays. As part of a virtualization project, the district installed an Emprise 5000 storage system from Xiotech Corp. and DataCore Software Corp.'s SANmelody software to increase uptime and decrease the impact of maintenance on its users.

Barren County school district includes around 4,600 students and 700 faculty. IT Director Steve Gumm and his team handle a high school, middle school, seven elementary schools, the board office, a day care location and four other buildings...

Gumm revamped his storage setup over the summer after the district virtualized all 30 of its servers with VMware. Gumm thought it would be a good time to modernize his storage network, which consisted of a four-year-old EMC iSCSI SAN. The district first went to its server vendor Dell and took a look at an EqualLogic iSCSI SAN. But Gumm wasn't comfortable with the idea of failing over between EqualLogic controllers in different sites during frequent network upgrades.

...Barren installed two 16 TB Fibre Channel systems in separate buildings and Gumm uses SANmelody to manage them with the uptime he wants.

"With SANmelody, we can thin provision those SANs," he said. "We're not utilizing all the space, and thin provisioning lets us use just what is needed at the time. We also use it for data mirroring between both locations. If we need to do maintenance or I need to re-boot my SAN for whatever reason, we drop the SAN here, failover, do our maintenance, failback, and we're up and going."...

"We can manage whatever maintenance needs to be done, whenever we need it," Gumm says of his new setup. "The biggest benefit coming down the road is we're not going to have to do forklift upgrades. When it comes time to add storage, we won't have to rip out the unit. We can add to the unit and allow DataCore to manage where we move data to."

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