Second EqualLogic SAN for London publisher

Ink Publishing set to deploy disaster recovery site with second EqualLogic SAN bought at £18,000 off list price. Also plans VMWare project and SANs at overseas offices

Colin Dash, IT manager with London-based Ink Publishing, says his storage projects for 2008 will centre on providing disaster recovery provision for the City of London-based business.

Ink Publishing produces more than 30 magazine titles for airlines and other businesses. It has 130 employees in four offices in the UK, US, Hong Kong and Singapore and stores sales data and magazine content from core applications including Exchange, SQL, Saleslogic CRM software and Adobe Indesign on an EqualLogic PS300e iSCSI SAN array with 7TB of capacity on SATA drives.

We have just bought a PS400. It cost £40,000 a year ago but we got it for £22,000
Colin Dash
IT managerInk Publishing

The company bought the EqualLogic product last year after experiencing data growth of around 50% per annum over the past four years. Three years ago it was producing new data at a rate of 40gigabytes per week. Last year, with data volumes produced each week of up to 600GB the firm decided to move from direct-attached to networked storage. It chose the EqualLogic product after also evaluating Lefthand Networks' NSM160 iSCSI SAN modules.

So, with its first SAN now up and running for a few months the firm has just invested in another EqualLogic array. So, what are the Ink storage team's plans for the coming year? What portion of your overall IT budget is accounted for by storage?

Colin Dash: Storage accounts for about 20% to 25% of budget. The way things work we buy storage products as and when needed. If we need something I go to my boss and say, 'we need this'. He tells me to get it cheaper and eventually we get it. How has the size of your storage budget changed over recent years, and why? 

Colin Dash: Our needs have changed a lot in the past three to four years. Our data volumes were quite static and then we expanded the number of magazines we publish and data started to grow at about 50% per year. It's not just the amount of magazine content but also the increase in Exchange and FTP files. In terms of projects, what are your key storage priorities for the coming year? 

Colin Dash: The main forthcoming project is the implementation of a second Equallogic SAN. We have just bought a PS400. It cost £40,000 a year ago but we got it for £22,000 because EqualLogic is moving to a 16 bay chassis and this is the older 12-bay type. What storage projects will you carry out over the coming year, and why? 

Colin Dash: We have been looking at our disaster recovery strategy and will use the second SAN as well as the possibility of virtualising servers using VMWare to provide a replica of our live systems at a second site. We are in an area with lots of banks and we know we would not be first priority if there was a terrorist strike or fire. At present we don't have a second site but will probably hire space at a disaster recovery centre on the other side of London until we get our own.

After that we will probably begin to move from DAS to SAN at our remote office sites in Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta and New York. Are there any prominent storage technologies which you will not invest in, and why? 

Colin Dash: In an ideal world it'd be nice to be rid of tape, but my boss still loves the idea of something physical you can take off site and be sure of.


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