Would you buy from a vendor before they open in Australia?

Telephony company Link Communications Group's vice-president of global engineering Ranjeet Rustogi explains why his company bought storage from EqualLogic before the vendor had opened its doors in Australia.

By his own admission, Ranjeet Rustogi has a strange story to tell.

Rustogi, vice-president of global engineering for telephony platform provider Link Communications Group, knew that the company needed more storage infrastructure to support products like its cut-price national and international phone call offerings.

"Every time someone makes a call it creates data," he says. "And every time our telephony devices make a connection, that creates data too."

The company's soft switch also needs access to data. "The soft switch needs to know the best route for a call so we do a lot of router table lookups. Every five minutes we check to see which carrier is the best for the calls we are dealing with."

The company also stores its customers' voice mail as data, along with the usual files created by a thriving business.

But in late 2005, when the company went shopping for storage infrastructure to meet its needs, the offerings were not what it expected.

"We designed our requirements and asked some system integrators for responses," Rustogi says. "They all recommended EMC, fibre channel and legato for backup and tape archive. The complete solution was getting close to $300,000."

Price was not Rustogi's only complaint.

"We wanted our platform to be IP driven," he recalls. "We did not want to add complexity and the need for special skills."

"I said: 'This cannot be right! You are telling me that fibre channel was invented in the early 90s and there have been no enhancements since then?' I felt there had to be an IP-based solution."

"All our data is replicated to other countries," he adds. "We needed internet enabled storage and fibre channel again meant added cost."

"iSCSI was therefore our technology of choice."

Yet when Rustogi surveyed the Australian market for a suitable iSCSI solution, he could not find one.

A survey of the global market, however, led the company to EqualLogic.

"The EqualLogic senior sales engineer we worked with was probably the most knowledgeable person I have ever met. The company's people made the sale for us - they are very knowledgeable."

But it is at this point Rustogi admits the decision to go with EqualLogic was strange.

"They were not even certified to operate in Australia at the time," he recalls. "So this is a little bit of a strange story."

But the story has a happy ending. The company acquired two of EqualLogic's PS200E arrays and has been running them since December 2005, adding more storage along the way.

"It has been very, very simple to add more capacity," Rustogi says. 'In fact it took longer to configure the host bus adapters (HBAs) on the server than it took to get the arrays running."

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