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Issue of September 2004 

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Developing on a Consolidated Platform

Sasken Communications, which develops telecom solutions and runs an R&D center at Bangalore, needed to develop a storage infrastructure that was consolidated and unified. The solution would help the company consolidate its storage infrastructure and promote interoperability.

Sasken faced a few issues in the management of its IT infrastructure. Most of the business-critical data resided on directly-attached storage (DAS) devices, and it needed to consolidate directories, business units, and databases. It used a network-attached systems (NAS) solution, which worked over multiple protocols, consolidated directories and databases, and provided a single infrastructure for NAS and SAN data.

Tackling a Problem

The developer community at the company had a problem with the management of the IT infrastructure. The company used Windows and UNIX/Linux as the local development platform, which essentially meant that the data from the central servers had to be mapped/mounted on to the local workstation or desktop for development activity.

Most of the data resided on DASs. And since the amount of data generated was huge, the IT department faced a number of issues. Performance lagged, scalability and reliability were doubtful, and there were additional concerns on a lengthy backup window.

The company had to look for a solution to consolidate home directories for users, project areas, and clear case databases. It also needed to have a single infrastructure for NAS and SAN data.

The Solution

Sasken used the NetApp Storage Consolidation Solution based on the unified storage approach. The solution comprised NetApp FAS 940 filers.

The protocols used were NFS, CIFS, iSCSI and FCP. The filers came with the 3TB of storage, which is upgradeable to 64TB.

The Benefits

The solution allowed users to recover their own data (damaged or infected) using a snapshot technology. It also allowed filers to be partitioned into multiple virtual filers.

This solution helped Sasken achieve interoperability with the company's database, applications, and Sun clusters. The management features allowed data sharing between UNIX and Windows Platforms without duplication.

The shift from a DAS environment to networked storage resulted in substantial increase in performance, at a reasonable price. The solution also allowed a single management infrastructure for NAS and SAN environments.


ILM and I

Arun O Gupta, Senior Director, Business Technology, Pfizer Limited, talks about his perception on ILM.

How does Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) help an organization?

With compliance becoming a big issue for most companies, ILM helps to manage risk in a regulated world. It can effectively create visibility through the lifecycle of a document. Cost benefits accrue in the long term, with reduced management costs.

The term ILM is used interchangeably for two concepts. The first is about basic archiving of information, and the second about database-driven content management tools. Both technologies have been around for a while, but ILM creates a new collective position for these since information aging and retention strategies are being redefined with new business challenges.

The concept of ILM has begun to evoke interest from Indian CIOs and a few of them are looking at it seriously

Do you use ILM-specific strategies in your organization?

We are in the process of piloting some solutions in the ILM space. It will help manage the large volume of information generated during the development cycle of a new drug.

What are the usual mistakes companies make in their storage strategies?

Many companies do not put much care into their archiving strategy. If companies keep going back to the archive for information at frequent intervals, the assumptions behind the timelines need to be reviewed. Further, Storage capacity is usually not planned well. Companies should create adequate capacity and be careful with the purge option.

Content management is not an IT responsibility, but IT needs to educate the business on what is possible and what is not.

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