Neither 3PAR nor the Census Bureau would confirm the replacement, which 3PAR described generally in a press release this week (see Census Bureau Taps 3PAR). But sources outside the vendor and the agency say the center, which serves U.S. universities and other institutions with census data, was limited by its old storage system, comprised of four Solaris-based servers and direct-attached storage from Sun.
The sources say the Center's new setup is based on a centrally located 3PAR InServ dual-processor array with 35 Tbytes of capacity. The system has been steadily expanding via 3PAR's "thin provisioning" technique since it was installed more than a year ago. Thin provisioning, 3PAR says, treats stored applications, such as databases, as though they have more physical disk storage than they actually do (see 3PAR Spins Disk Trick). The goal is to allow companies to save on buying disk storage before it's really required.
3PAR's array supports RAID Level 5 and works with Net Backup software from Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS). The 3PAR unit is attached to 12 servers from Supermicro Computer Inc. running SUSE Linux and six tape libraries from Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK).
Sun, which has listed the Census Bureau as a customer for at least two years, had no comment on news of its replacement in this particular application. It's not clear what other storage installations Sun may still have with the Bureau.