Data growth is a concern in just about all organizations, but it's even more of an issue for Internet service providers and their data centers. In addition to an increasing volume of data, KPN, the largest communication service provider in the Netherlands, found itself with other emerging requirements, such as improving the redundancy of its operations. These business drivers eventually led the company to increase the speed of its storage network and become one of the first corporations relying on 8-Gig Fibre Channel products.
KPN has more than 38 million customers in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands using its mobile, wireless, Internet access, and television services. The company's ISP business unit accounts for 2.5 million of those customers and has its own data centers. This group, which relies on HP blade servers and storage systems to support its services, is responsible for 3 PB of information, and that volume has been growing by double digits annually.
To better serve its customers, the ISP examined its storage infrastructure. The volume of information it housed was increasing, and potential bottlenecks were emerging. Vendors, such as Microsoft, have been changing their product designs to support cloud-based services, so applications such as Exchange and SQL Server were sending and receiving more information.
In addition, reliability was becoming a more important consideration. "Because information is the foundation for many companies' business, we needed to add more redundancy to our storage systems to ensure that their important data would be available," says Herman Keijzer, an architect at KPN. To support such features, the company decided to build a new data center in Rotterdam, one that would complement its main center in Amsterdam, as well as serving as a backup site.
Since there was going to be a lot of information moving in the data center and between the companys sites, KPN examined upgrading its storage network infrastructure. With server and storage systems becoming more powerful, we saw a lot more disk activity in our data center and on our network and needed to find a way to move information faster from point A to point B, says Germar Braam, lead architect at KPN.