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University opts for Cisco San

The University of Minnesota, which serves 60,000 students on its five campuses, has selected Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer directors to consolidate its widely dispersed storage resources onto a single storage area network (San).

"It's a typical story for university environments," says Carl Follstad, manager of data management services at the university. "We had a lot of little islands of storage, perfectly reliable, but not scalable. There were also requirements for information sharing between systems that couldn't be met because they were not connected. The next natural step was to consolidate storage onto a San."

Follstad considered Cisco along with other suppliers for the initial San pilot. "We had a very good working relationship and a lot of confidence already with Cisco," he says. "For our first San effort we chose the Cisco MDS 9216 Fabric switches in a dual-fabric configuration, spanning two datacentres on the campus."

The IT team placed the university's key business functions on the San, and then began to look at using the two datacentres' Sans for disaster recovery capabilities. It also expanded the San to a core-to-edge design to accommodate extra applications and data.

Keeping the dual-fabric design, the team deployed two Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer directors at the core in each datacentre's fabric, with the Cisco MDS 9216 switches moved to the edge. In addition, with data replicated in real time at both campus sites, each datacentre could function as a disaster recovery site for the other, providing much greater data security and business continuity for the university.

The current environment hosts 300Tbytes of storage, 300 ports and 60 hosts, all interconnected by Fibre Channel technology. Hosted data can include anything from student content and materials, datawarehouses, and imaging applications to production and research databases.


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