Storage Solution: Secure For Takeoff


Money Mailer's 60-Gbyte storage solution wasn't capable of handling the large number of graphics and templates being produced for its franchisees nationwide.

"When we built that server, we thought, '60 Gbytes? We'll never use it.' We quickly learned we were having to purge data sometimes after 90 days, sometimes after 30 days. We backed up every night, and in a fix we could restore data if we needed it, but we were running out of disk space on a weekly basis," said Frank Migliaccio, director of network operations at Money Mailer.

Money Mailer had purchased a Hewlett-Packard Fibre Channel SAN for its Microsoft Exchange environment in 2004, and Migliaccio considered it bullet-proof. He went to Secure Data Group planning to expand on that system.

However, when Ed Ginty, senior director at Irvine, Calif.-based Secure Data, came on board, he wanted to make sure to bring the solution that would best meet Money Mailer's needs.

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"The point solution was working well for the very small Exchange environment, but when he started talking about what he would like to do, a point solution would not have lasted long at all and it was not going to be able to scale," Ginty said. "What's the business aspect of this? What are you trying to accomplish using this technology rather than what kind of technology do you want?"

Ginty thought that Money Mailer would be wasting money on an expensive Fibre Channel product, and pitched an IP-based SAN that would utilize the customer's existing network.

Migliaccio began evaluating SAN products from various companies, but when Secure Data brought in a product from Intransa, San Jose, Calif., his Fibre Channel dreams faded.

"One of the things that [Ginty] said was iSCSI. I hadn't heard too much about iSCSI, but we had them come in with [the Intransa] system on a little rolling cart," Migliaccio said. "I was skeptical but we tried it out on a limited basis and found that it was a breeze. It was absolutely turnkey. You plug it into the racks and instantly provision the disk space that you need."

Money Mailer purchased a 4-Tbyte SAN for its Garden Grove headquarters, and another for its off-site data center in Irvine. Last winter, it upgraded to a 16-Tbyte SAN in Garden Grove and Irvine, and added a 20-Tbyte SAN in its Houston graphics center.

The SAN has changed the way Money Mailer does business, and Migliaccio said that the half-million dollar investment the company has made to its storage network was invaluable. "All of a sudden we didn't have a limit on storage, and when you're developing technology for a business, you have to think within the limitations of the infrastructure," he said. "But with the advent of unlimited disk space, what we're able to do is to start to think about things to further create efficiencies for our franchisees," Migliaccio added.

The ability to keep more templates and graphics available to franchisees has transformed a week-long process of back-and-forth communications into one that takes a mere 30 minutes on a laptop with access to the data warehouse.

Secure Data's vendor-neutral perspective and focus on Money Mailer's business processes over making a quick sale have helped the solution provider build a relationship with the advertising company.

"Ed Ginty is an interesting salesperson. He's geared more toward finding the right solution as opposed to just making a sale. That has consistently been the case with SDG. He's interested in this long-term relationship where we are not pigeonholing ourselves and we're successful at every pass," Migliaccio said.

"That has been a moniker with our relationship. It is a true partnership between him the vendor and me the customer. It feels great to have a vendor that takes that to heart," he said.

That relationship has allowed Secure Data to pitch additional projects to Money Mailer, generating greater revenues for the solution provider.

"Their business is growing in leaps and bounds. The technology that we put in there was scalable. With the scale, they also changed some of the things that they offer," Ginty said. "From the point of a successful client-partner relationship, this is a company that has started small and grown larger; it's just been textbook for us."