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Storage roundup: Unilever monitors SAN with NetWisdom; BT chooses NetApp for new hosting service

Antony Adshead, UK Bureau Chief
Unilever monitors SAN traffic with NetWisdom

UK-based multinational firm Unilever has chosen Virtual Instruments' NetWisdom storage performance monitoring products to help it manage and optimise its storage-area network (SAN) traffic. The NetWisdom and VirtualWisdom family of products are designed to allow problem diagnosis, downtime prevention and performance optimisation on complex, heterogeneous Fibre Channel SANs and virtualized IT infrastructures.

Unilever identified its requirement as part of a process to rework a significant portion of its SAN, which supports a SAP application architecture. With 5 petabytes (PB) of data to manage and predicted annual storage growth approaching 50%, Unilever's SAN team began by standardising on new switches and swapping out old ports. To assert new levels of control over the recently consolidated fabric, Unilever chose Virtual Instruments' NetWisdom to provide it with a view of current system status, as well as the ability to accurately pinpoint problem areas.

"Our SAN environment is approaching 95% virtualised, which has many advantages," said Mike Royle, enterprise services director at Unilever. "However, it also results in increased complexity. Having worked hard to reach this stage we needed to find a vendor-agnostic solution that could really underpin the SAN and give us the ability to see when and where performance problems might arise."

Implementation and training was started and completed in June 2009, and NetWisdom now monitors fabrics in real-time across replicated Unilever data centres.

BT chooses NetApp for new enterprise hosting service

BT will use NetApp storage products in its new Virtual Data Centre (VDC), an infrastructure hosting service offered to enterprises. NetApp storage will combine with blade servers with a virtualised architecture in a service in which BT promises infrastructure and Windows apps can be up and running in five days. The core storage infrastructure for VDC is based around NetApp FAS6080c clusters with iSCSI connectivity and Fibre Channel and SATA drives. A NetApp software suite -- including Ontap 7.3, SnapMirror, MultiStore, SnapRestore, SnapVault and Protection Manager -- has been integrated with BT's own software to create a management portal BT customers can use to design, configure and upgrade the system.

Civica UK tiers storage using Compellent SANs

Civica UK, a service provider to the public sector, has implemented four Compellent SANs with 54 TB of raw storage on each, tiered between Fibre Channel (FC) and SATA drives to replace an aging storage infrastructure. The organisation has deployed an 80/20 tiered storage split between SATA and FC drives at the data centres it's building for the virtualised server environment to be used for the Building Schools for the Future project.

"We've been able to minimise the time spent administrating storage to meet the dynamic nature of the projects and applications our business demands," said Tony Ditchfield, Civica UK's managed services department leader. "For example, thin provisioning allows the team to only dedicate the amount of storage that each customer actually needs at any given time, and charge them accordingly."

Profitable Q3 for data deduplication vendor ExaGrid Systems

Disk-based backup and data deduplication vendor ExaGrid Systems has announced Q3 2009 sales that show 19% growth over the prior quarter. International sales also grew and comprise 14% of total Q3 sales for the company. ExaGrid has now grown during 15 out of the last 16 quarters, and has had nine consecutive growth quarters. ExaGrid has more than 1,600 systems installed in more than 700 unique locations with more than 450 customers. It also claims the industry's second-largest installed base of disk-based backup appliances with data deduplication in mid-market and SME companies.

Infortrend offers new disk systems

Infortrend has added two new single controller SCSI-to-SAS/SATA subsystems -- the EonStor S12U-G1440 and S16U-G1440 -- to its EonStor G6 series. The two models are boosted by the addition of Infortrend's new-generation ASIC667 RAID engine and combine Ultra320 SCSI host connectivity with flexible SAS/SATA hard disk drive choices. The Infortrend S12U and S16U subsystems provide four SCSI host ports, and can be populated with either SAS or SATA drives.

Transport lab selects Pillar Axiom to provide data storage capacity

The UK Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has selected Pillar Axiom storage subsystems to provide new data storage capacity. TRL will also make use of the Axiom's so-called Application-Aware Storage, which allows users to set up multiple tiers of storage on a single platform and to provision storage much like provisioning a virtual server.

"Because we cannot predict how big a project will be when we set it up, scalability was the key factor when evaluating storage systems," said Fred Trigg, systems development manager at TRL. "This was the most scalable solution we found."

Zmanda offers EU-compliant backup service

Open-source backup software vendor Zmanda has announced the availability of Version 2.0 of its Zmanda Cloud Backup (ZCB) product. The latest version includes the ability to constrain data storage to a storage cloud physically located in the European Union. This enables organisations based in the European Union to maintain compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive. Other new features of ZCB 2.0 include cloud backup of MySQL and SharePoint, selective restore, and security and performance enhancements.

Attenda Limited turns to 3PAR for cloud services

Attenda Limited has become the first European member of the 3PAR Cloud-Agile program to offer its clients 3PAR Cloud-Agile: Assured and 3PAR Cloud-Agile: Secured services. Attenda is also the first 3PAR Cloud-Agile partner to deliver these services as part of a sustainability initiative it calls CarbonNeutral hosting.


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