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Ford Fleshes Out Virtual Roadmap

Storage virtualization is key to the car manufacturer's green IT strategy

NEW YORK -- Automotive giant Ford has thrown its weight firmly behind storage virtualization to tackle its data center "sprawl," according to Vijay Sankaran, the firm's director of IT infrastructure.

Speaking at IDC's Green IT Forum here today, Sankaran explained that he oversees a vast IT infrastructure comprising 5,000 Intel servers dotted around the world, two vast U.S. data centers totaling 100,000 square feet, and a rapidly expanding storage infrastructure.

"How many of you have your arms around data growth?" asked the exec, prompting laughter from his 100-strong audience of IT managers. "We certainly don't -- I have gotten requests for applications that want a development environment of 10 Tbytes."

Cue a major storage consolidation and virtualization effort that started back in 2006.

"We have taken a lot of individual frames of storage and gone to large towers of storage," said Sankaran, explaining that Ford has virtualized over two Pbytes of data using IBM's SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and the vendor's DS8000 and DS4000 SAN systems.

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