Halton District School Board

Uses CA's storage software to link up 87 servers across the district's SAN

October 4, 2002

2 Min Read
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Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) learned early on how ripe the education market can be. Ever since the mid-1980s boom in computers for education, technology companies have been angling for an educational foothold.

Computer Associates International (NYSE: CA), for example, scored a recent win when Canada's Halton District School Board (HDSB) selected the Islandia, N.Y., software titan's BrightStor Enterprise Backup system to manage and automate its critical data protection operations.

Big deal, right? Was it even worth a press release?

Actually HDSB, a regional school board, serves approximately 45,000 public school students in four municipalities in southern Ontario. With 4,000 teachers, administrators, and support personnel, it is one of the region's largest employers and has a $300 million budget. More importantly for our purposes, CA's storage software links up 87 different Compaq servers across the district's SAN, says Fern Pinho, HDSB's manager of network operations and telecommunications.

Before the installation, HDSB teachers literally went against union regulations to change each server's 4-millimeter backup tapes each week, says Pinho, who adds that at each elementary server site, people would need to move a tape's contents from the C Drive to the D drive weekly. "We had two tape libraries with 15 tapes in each library -- it was quite a mess," he says.Now, along with CA's software, a Quantum Corp. (NYSE: DSS) Super DLT tape, and a handful of Compaq Proliant 8500 servers, there is a central repository able to change backup tapes daily. "It will take 20 to 30 percent off of our storage budget annually," says Keith Johnson, HDSB's superintendent of education and information technology.

Johnson's future goal is to leverage this new backup for instructional purposes with the district's corporate affairs, "so we won't have to focus financial resources on the business side."

Another future endeavor will revolve around data-drive organization, he asserts, and the district has just begun to look at storage personalization companies that can customize and extract data. (He did not name names, but some of the larger North American players in this area are Overland Storage Inc. [Nasdaq: OVRL] and Advanced Digital Information Corp. [Nasdaq: ADIC].) "Being in an educational environment, we really would like to be able to manipulate this data and, at the same time, keep the system as seamless as possible." Johnson notes that Bell Canada (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), along with CA and Compaq, offers telecommunications services (a leased WAN and an Internet pipe) inside its IT architecture.

Storage personalization, whether from a software or SAN point of view, is quickly heating up. That's why CA and the major server storage vendors, including Sun Microsystems Inc.

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