Mitchell Communication Group adopts Compellent SAN

Australia’s largest media marketing and communications company, the Mitchell Communication Group, has adopted a SAN from Compellent after previous purchases from top-tier vendors proved disappointingly complex.

Andrew Nowak had had enough.

The IT Solution Architect at Mitchell Communication Group had been promised a certain level of performance by a pair of tier-one SAN vendors, but neither was delivering.

“We tried to provision the SAN and learned we had to do it off the bat in a certain way,” he says. “We followed instructions but found doing it that way was not right. Then we had to do it again.”

Once configured per manufacturers’ instructions, Nowak was again disappointed.

“The vendor said it had multi-pathing, but it was manual. Every time you tried to attach a new server to it, you would have to go in and reconfigure your paths.”

Worst of all, Nowak said the SAN’s controllers “...were struggling with throughput,” which meant users complained about slow access speeds to data.

Once the company adopted virtualisation and started to commission and decommission servers more often, these shortcomings tipped over from irritating to unsustainable, and despite the fact that the company’s SANs were just a couple of years old Nowak decided the time was right to return to the market.

His eventual choice was Compellent, a vendor he happily did business with despite the fact that at the time of his purchase it was yet to open a local office.

Technical reasons won him over.

“The initial thing that caught the eye with Compellent was the tiering features,” he told SearchStorageANZ. “We had a lot of archive storage and every so often we had to move it off to slow disk.”

Compellent’s automated tiering was “set and forget” while the fact Nowak felt it was “easy it is to expand and create LUNs” was also attractive. “We can move between fast and slow tiers on the fly he says,” and can resize those tiers quickly and simply.

“Whenever I configure a disk, that’s it. If we need to grow, add disk, I just go into VMware and expand it. It’s all straightforward.”

Another favourite management tool is Microsoft’s PowerShell, and Nowak appreciates the fact he can integrate the new SAN with the sowftare.

“It makes it very easy from the data store, to the tier, to the Windows environments ... and we can do it end-to-end with the tools we prefer.”

Read more on SAN, NAS, solid state, RAID