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NXTbook Opens NAS Savings

Publisher NXTbook Media is looking to shave almost a half million dollars off its admin and hardware costs over the next five years by shifting from direct attached storage to clustered NAS. In the process, it's ditched Dell for OnStor.

NXTbook Media converts magazines from customers such as Hearst Publications and CMP Media LLC into digital format and posts them onto the Web. [Disclosure: CMP is the publisher of Byte and Switch.]

Prior to deploying the OnStor NAS system, the Lancaster, Pa.-based firm relied on six Dell servers functioning as direct attached storage. (See ONStor Adds Nine Channels, ONStor Doubles Base, and Targeting NetApp.) The servers, comprising 3.5 Tbytes total, were linked together to deliver Web content. A ServerIron device from Foundry Networks was also used for load balancing. (See Foundry Accelerates ServerIron.)

Last year the publisher decided to replace the Dell storage servers with OnStor's clustered NAS solution, deploying two OnStor Pantera P2240 systems earlier this year. One of these is at the firm's Lancaster data center and the other is at a collocation facility a quarter of a mile away, connected via Fibre Channel. Each Pantera includes a 6-Tbyte RAID array.

Managing the direct attached infrastructure was simply becoming too much of a pain for Nathan Powell, NXTbook's IT director. The exec explained that he had to constantly rewrite a complex set of PERL scripts for backups on the Dell storage. "It was very unwieldy," he said, adding that the NAS gateway has freed up one member of his staff from constantly checking on backups.

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