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California Gets SAN Energy: Page 2 of 3

Matthew Zafuto, director of Information Systems and Technology for Xcel's Energy Markets unit, led the SAN selection and implementation teams. In the past year, he has seen an exponential increase in the storage capacity needed to support trading operations and is currently deploying about 1.2 terabytes. He expects that capacity easily to triple by the end of the year and perhaps to grow much more than that.

“The core business problem we're trying to solve is to put in place a data storage infrastructure that will enable us to maintain an exponential growth rate,” he says. “The system has to allow us to add storage capacity on a vast scale, and it also has to be highly reliable in order to assure access to the data.”

Xcel Energy concluded that its existing infrastructure, which was based on multiple servers with directly attached storage, would not allow the company to scale its storage capacity easily and economically. Zafuto's team didn't want to rely on “throwing more servers at the problem" in order to gain storage capacity whenever they wanted to install new applications or accommodate more users.

“The internal architecture of the HDS 9900 was vastly superior to the others we evaluated," says Zafuto. (Unfortunately, he declined to name the other products he evaluated). “It can scale up to 37 terabytes in a single system without experiencing any deterioration in performance.”

Whether California lights up on the news has yet to be established, but this is another example of a large company binning its old direct-attached storage and embarking on the new wave of network-based storage systems (see SAN to Trim Healthcare Provider's Costs).