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Timmons

Engineering firm Timmons Group has slashed backup times by two thirds and opened the door to some major consolidation by deploying Fibre Channel and iSCSI in a single storage array.

The seeds of the firm's storage overhaul were sown three years ago, when Timmons reviewed its IT infrastructure in the aftermath of the HP-Compaq merger. Bryan Moore, Timmons' IT manager told Byte and Switch that, at that time, the firm relied on a 1-Tbyte Compaq RA 4100 SAN.

Like many firms, Richmond, Va.-based Timmons' data was growing at an alarming rate. "We do lots of computer-aided design (CAD) and geographical information system (GIS) stuff like aerial photography and digital imagery. These image files are huge, enormous," said Moore.

As HP was about to pull the plug on the 4100, Moore and his team started looking for SAN alternatives, eventually choosing a 3-Tbyte Clariion CX300 from EMC, ahead of offerings from HP and NetApp. "It was competitive pricing -- the Clariion was [comparatively] new at the time and they were pushing the product," he said.

The exec explained that he uses replication software and disk-to-disk features on the CX300 to cut his backup times: "A full backup now takes us about six to eight hours. Before it would have taken upwards of 22 to 23 hours."

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