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Construction Company Rebuilds IT Infrastructure

T.B. Penick & Sons vastly improves performance by upgrading servers and implementing an IP-SAN.

Ken Marsh knows stress. He once worked as a 911 dispatcher.

But now as the IT manager for construction company T.B. Penick & Sons, San Diego, Calif., he recalls coming into the office to find a line of people waiting outside his door. The network was down and they couldn't get e-mail.

After too many mornings like that, Marsh convinced his boss to spend the money to upgrade the company's data center. In addition to seven servers with Windows 2003 with dual Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange and a couple of SQL servers, Marsh said the IP-SAN they implemented at the same time provides the connectivity among the servers and has vastly improved performance.

Penick has three divisions: construction and contracting; structural concrete; and innovative concrete surfaces. Marsh said his users are all over the country often in remote areas or traveling for weeks at a time. "So everybody has to have [network] access to company info and to get e-mail," he said.

Penick's headcount isn't huge, but it was enough to keep Marsh, then a one-man IT department, hopping. Through acquisitions, he went from 40 to 80 users in 18 months. They were all on two NT 4.0 servers, one with Citrix Server that itinerant users accessed to create a remote desktop. The other server was running Exchange and everything else.

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