The DAS-to-SAN business-growth formula at Cafe Coffee Day

A look at how data growth and business needs led the direct-attached storage (DAS)-to-storage area network (SAN) migration project at Cafe Coffee Day.

By Jasmine Desai, Principal Correspondent,

Café Coffee Day (CCD) has been a pioneer of the café concept in India since 1996. With its first café at Brigade Road in Bengaluru, CCD ushered in the hangout zone for India's youth. Now, while its caffeinated concoctions are familiar to most Indians, it's a lesser-known fact that there's a dynamic IT setup behind CCD's coffee journey. In fact, CCD uses a mix of in-house and outsourced IT infrastructure that helps it constantly churn out new services.

While embarking on its coffee expedition, CCD used simple built-in server storage. However, this proved insufficient since CCD's storage needs grew alongside its exponential growth and expansion plans over the years. Arvind Chaudhary, the senior manager of IT and management information systems for CCD, says built-in storage was used when CCD did not anticipate its exponential data growth. "One needs storage infrastructure which can be scaled up as per demand. So at that point of time, we went in for a direct-attached storage solution from HP." Thus, CCD decided to shift to a direct-attached storage (DAS) solution.

As per Chaudhary, the decision to move beyond DAS has largely been need-based. CCD has an approximate daily database growth of 2 GB. With such an escalating rate of data growth, DAS started facing limitations in terms of scalability. This led to issues, since the DAS solution in use at CCD could not be scaled up beyond 3 TB.

The decision to move beyond DAS has largely been need-based. CCD has an approximate daily database growth of 2 GB. With such an escalating rate of data growth, DAS faced limitations in scalability.

In March 2008, CCD took the call to upgrade its servers from an Intel Xeon environment to Intel Itanium-based HP Integrity servers. At this time, the organization opted to migrate DAS as well. "We felt no need to evaluate any other vendor, as our architecture has revolved around HP for the past four years. Thus, HP was the obvious choice for us," Chaudhary says.

CCD has deployed a Hewlett-Packard Co. SAN of 15 TB capacity in its Bengaluru data center, with PSI/India as the implementation partner. The SAN went live in March 2008 after one month of testing. It has been sized for three years keeping in mind the 2 GB per-day growth. Five SAP servers connect to the SAN, and the increased capacity has helped CCD increase its Oracle database space (SAP's back end) to 2 TB. A RAID 5 configuration is in use for the SAN storage arrays, while HP's Data Protector application is used for data backup.

For CCD, the SAN deployment's biggest benefit has been the ease of storage management. "Today we can manage the separate storage silos as just a single box. The SAN can even be remotely managed. Thus, the job has become quite easy," Chaudhary says.

As an organization, CCD is on the fast track when it comes to business growth. Hence, CCD expects to look at options such as storage virtualization and data consolidation in the near future.

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