Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Firm Swaps WAN Optimizers, Learns Tough Lessons

When Kansas City, Mo.-based 360 Architecture centralized its SAN in 2006, the IT staff didn't realize they were in for a crash course in the realities of WAN optimizers.

Centralization seemed like a great move. "Our storage network used to be very distributed," explains IT manager Jeff Hamer. "We had a number of network attached boxes, and we used to keep storage at the branch offices. We experienced the normal challenges, having to back up data at a remote location with no IT staff... You cant be sure someone isn't going to swap a tape."

To get all its data in one place and make it more manageable, 360 Architecture opted for an EMC CLARiiOn SAN with a Celerra front end for NAS functionality. The storage network it chose was iSCSI, and the SAN links were configured over a dedicated VLAN on a Cisco Catalyst 6509 core switch.

The systems were installed at the 130-employee-company's headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., which is linked to remote offices in San Francisco, Dallas, and Columbus, Ohio. The company's MPLS data center network runs at 3 Mbit/s and links from there to remote branches operate at 1.5 Mbit/s each.

Data migration was the next step. "Once that storage system was implemented, we brought back all the data, so we could more efficiently back it up and protect it," Hamer says. He used EMC's Replistor application, which he says was simple enough to use, if time consuming. "We used DFS [Distributed File System] as a layer of abstraction between the actual network location and the end user’s drive letter mapping, so the cutover changing the share paths was seamless. Total relocation of branch data to the core spanned a couple of weeks."

  • 1