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Hudson's Bay Company

Canada's largest retail outfit, Hudson's Bay Company, is steadfastly against the idea of the rumored merger in the works between EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and BMC Software Inc. (see EMC Eyes BMC).

"I'd hate to see anything major like this happen," says Laurence Whittaker, Hudson's Bay's enterprise storage supervisor. "BMC is a good company to deal with; it's very customer focused. I'd hate to see someone else getting in there and messing that up." (See BMC Manages Retailer's Storage).

Whittaker doesn't have anything against EMC, specifically. It's just that Hudson's Bay's storage infrastructure is built almost entirely of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) mainframes and Shark arrays. Whittaker and three other full-time storage administrators at Hudson's Bay manage almost 10 terabytes of mainframe disk and 12 terabytes of open systems storage among them. "We are definitely at the high end of the scale in terms of gigabytes per administrator," he says.

Under its current agreement with IBM, Hudson's Bay couldn't introduce another vendor's storage into its environment even if it wanted to, although Whittaker notes, "the IBM deal doesn't last forever." And the prospect of getting into the virtualization game to mix multivendor storage doesn't fill Whittaker with enthusiasm. "Virtualization doesn't work as well in the Unix world today as it does for NT, and it's pretty expensive," he says, although it is something he is keeping an eye on.

Growth in new storage capacity at Hudson's Bay has slowed down considerably this year. The firm was increasing its capacity 200 percent each year during the mid to late 90s, but Whittaker expects that growth rate to drop to between 50 percent and 70 percent this year. "We are trying to contain it and keep things manageable," he says.

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