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Data Storage Explodes in Nova Scotia

Storage requirements for the government of Nova Scotia, Canada, were growing at a rate rarely seen in any industry, including government. To make matters worse, the government's IT department had the same constraints as many government agencies -- its budget was fixed and there was little opportunity to grow the size of staff. Yet the demand for data storage was growing at 100 percent per year.

This explosive growth was fueled by a number of factors, including the government's decision to make more information available online for its citizens. "We had an increase in the amount of systems across the board," said Kevin Tillman, Nova Scotia's manager of corporate IT operations. "A large part of the increase is the large [geographic information system] that's come on line. We use that for all of the government departments. [And] everything has grown from email to electronic documents."

There was more. "We digitized all of our land records for the province," said Jeff Brunt, Nova Scotias technical architect for storage.

As a result, Tillman said, "We were in a panic to do something quickly. One hundred percent growth is substantial. We don't have an unlimited budget and the staff doesn't grow quickly."

The IT department had installed an IBM DS4400 storage-area network seven years ago as part of a plan to transition from its mainframe to a server-based operation, Tillman said. The department added storage as necessary to keep up with demand, but it became clear that they couldn't simply throw disks at the problem.

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