Trimax’s SAN storage system paves way for business growth

With a hosted platform for messaging and collaboration services on its business roadmap, service provider Trimax felt the need for a SAN storage system.

IT service provider Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services found itself at a cross road recently. New projects were defining the need for new technology as the support, and this is where the story of its deployment of HP’s SAN storage system began.

With varied offerings like integration, data center, management of IT infrastructure and networking, Trimax services customers through its presence at more than 30 locations across India. The SAN storage system implementation started off with the company’s decision to build a hosted exchange platform to offer messaging and collaboration services on the software as a service (SaaS) model to enterprises. These new requirements called for absolute up-to-the-minute deployments. The deployment called for implementation of a SAN storage system that Trimax could count on. Thus the IP-based HP P2000 SAN storage system came into the picture. “We conducted substantial amounts of research and several evaluation rounds of different vendors and their products. We found that HP’s P2000 SAN storage system perfectly fitted the bill,” says Rajesh Tapadia, the CTO and head of products & services at Trimax Data Center Services (a subsidiary of Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services).  The main reason behind selection of HP’s SAN storage system was ease of management and cost efficiency (compared to the other evaluated solutions).

Tapadia and his team had certain key requirements and challenges while going in for a hosted messaging platform. The prime requirement was to be able to grow on a need basis. At present there are around 30,000 users, but being a hosted platform the growth is fairly unpredictable. Keeping this in mind, storage had to be extremely scalable. (The deployed SAN storage system is scalable up to 2,00,000 users.) Price to performance was another criterion.

The SAN storage system is currently being used for applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint which are fairly high I/O intensive applications. The storage capacity is 30 TB, and expandable in nature. This SAN solution is located at Trimax’s data center in Bengaluru. It is connected to 12 HP physical servers running 35 virtual instances. These virtual machines are hosted on the Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization solution. The physical servers run on Microsoft platforms.

In-built snapshot technology within P2000 is being utilized for data backups. Apart from that, a Commvault solution has also been deployed for the same purpose. RAID 5 and RAID 1 are being utilized for different volumes. Microsoft SQL and Oracle databases are being used at the backend. Apart from these, the new SAN storage system enables Trimax to provide data recovery or mailbox recovery to customers.

The roadblocks in most SAN storage implementations come either from the technology side or in term of resources. In this case, it was a mix of both. “Finding high-end resources to help us deploy the SAN solution was a challenge. Secondly, we wanted to integrate this technology to offer a control panel to customers to manage their domains,” recollects Tapadia.

Apart from these, the SAN storage system implementation did not stumble across any problems. This was mainly because significant amounts of time went into the design and planning stages. HP was the partner from a storage point of view, and Microsoft from the software licensing point of view. Comments Tapadia: “It is therefore more of a complete collaboration suite deployed on HP SAN storage, which allows for multi-tier functionality.”

The project went live only in July 2010, so it is difficult to calculate any benefits on a consistent level at this point of time. Nevertheless, benefits were noticed immediately after the SAN system’s implementation; the main one is in terms of power savings, though server virtualization also has a role to play on this front. Server virtualization had become the need of the hour since the main objective was to optimally utilize investments in terms of the compute-level layer.

After the smooth deployment and easy utilization of this SAN storage system, the next logical step is storage virtualization. But at the moment, everything seems all right for Trimax’s IT folk.

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