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California Gets SAN Energy

Xcel builds SAN to speed up electricity and gas trading

Could SAN technology be used to help Californias energy crisis? Xcel Energy Markets, the largest unit of Xcel Energy Corp., thinks so.

The company has flicked the switch on a new storage area network, built to house and manage its nationwide, wholesale natural gas and electricity trading business.

“California is buying from Xcel daily now,” says Tim Tutag, account executive at Hitachi Data Systems, which is supplying Xcel with its Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 system. McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDT) provided its ED 5000 Director switches for the network, and several unnamed software companies were also involved in building the SAN (see Hitachi, McData Team Up).

The contract is worth “several million dollars,” says Tutag. Those moneys "kit out just one data center in Denver,” he adds. Xcel has many other centers in Colorado and Minnesota, which he hopes will be added to the contract in time.

The Xcel Energy Markets team must be able to react to market conditions minute by minute during the trading day and dispatch energy to customers and trading partners around the clock. These transactions, as well as the need to store lengthy contracts, make its business extremely data intensive and underpinned its decision to build a SAN, it says.

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