Solution provider creates streamlined, affordable solution
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Power Industry Consultants' data backup infrastructure was a patchwork of products: 12 different servers, multiple backup software packages, seven different tape drives and three types of cartridges.
"As we grew, we added new SQL servers, Web servers and appliance servers," said Rob Hubbell, Power Industry's manager of engineering services. "As we bought new servers, we said, 'Let's add another tape drive.' We discussed the [growing complexity, but we never had the budget [to address it."
Didtake says StarServer's S10000 tape library is a cost-effective solution for Power Industry.
But priorities changed when Power Industry, a Marietta, Ga.-based company that provides the power industry with skilled technicians such as welders and engineers, suffered a power outage. "We got our data back up, but it took two days," Hubbell said. "Management said that was no good. We had planned to make changes in the next 12 months or so, but this [situation pushed us to do it right away."
Two weeks before the outage, executives at Power Industry had seen an ad for StorServer, a tape library integrator targeting companies that protect 100 Gbytes to 1 Tbyte of data. StorServer, which sells its products solely through the channel, put Power Industry in touch with Rob Didlake, president and owner of Dataedge Solutions, a Wichita, Kan.-based solution provider.
Didlake and Hubbell teamed up and ultimately chose a StorServer tape library bundle aimed at centralizing backups from multiple operating systems and multiple backup applications, Didlake said. By late last year, they were preparing to implement a solution with StorServer's K1000 tape library.
But earlier this year, StorServer introduced a new model, the S10000, which can be mounted in a pedestal configuration or in an industry-standard rack, and costs $7,000 less than the K1000. In addition, StorServer was planning to discontinue the K1000.
The S10000, a complete solution, comes with an IBM xSeries server, Tivoli Storage Manager and a StorServer-designed GUI that allows the system operator to check tapes in and out, and to verify that all clients have been backed up, said Didlake.
>> FOCUS: Enterprise backup solutions, software development, fault-tolerant applications and custom server configurations.
>> PROBLEM and SOLUTION: Power Industry Consultants' data backup infrastructure was a hodgepodge of disparate hardware and software products. Dataedge Solutions streamlined and updated the company's storage system.
>> PRODUCTS and SERVICES USED: StorServer S10000 tape library with IBM xSeries server, Tivoli Storage Manager and StorServer-designed GUI.
>> LESSONS LEARNED:
Consider deploying a bundled solution for your customer; it could save them service and support headaches down the line.
Stay abreast of new products more suitable to your clinet's needs.
Offer pre-installation training.
Before installing the tape library, Didlake brought Hubbell on-site for training. "Customers like this because they can get involved in the installation," said Didlake. "It also helps [prepare them for troubleshooting or for adding additional SQL servers." The StorServer training was excellent, and the instructor was very knowledgeable about the product, said Hubbell. His only gripe: The class was a little advanced for someone unfamiliar with Tivoli Storage Manager.
The installation, which was completed in April, went smoothly, said Hubbell. Power Industry's data backups are now automated. Dataedge set up policies for the customer so it knows which tapes to take off-site for disaster recovery. Also, Power Industry now has 30 days of online storage, so it's not necessary to go off-site if there's a problem. The firm also has two days of instant restore via a disk cache, Hubbell said.
StorServer is Power Industry's last line of defense, Hubbell said. "[In an emergency, anyone can pick up our tapes and call a 1-800 number, and StorServer will come out, bring the equipment and do the restore," he said. The fact that Dataedge brought in a complete bundled solution is a plus. "We have a small IT staff," he said. "I didn't want one of my guys to become a StorServer or Tivoli Storage Manager expert. We don't have the time or head count for that."
Hubbell doesn't expect to need a storage infrastructure upgrade anytime soon. "But if I do, Dataedge will be the first one I call," he said.