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LAS VEGAS -- Making sprawling data centers more efficient to manage across tiers is a major challenge for any large firm. To do it while saving money is an even greater challenge, although not impossible.

Admins from wireless chip manufacturer Qualcomm and Philips Lighting Electronics North America detailed how they pulled off their storage makeovers at a conference here. For Qualcomm, it was a matter of getting a greater handle on utilization and streamlining storage into one pool while Philips went from a monolithic to a modular SAN and embraced utility pricing.

As Qualcomm's storage manager, Paul Ferraro is responsible for managing more than 2 Pbytes of NAS data, 600 Tbytes on SANs, 1,500 storage ports, 4,500 servers, and 15,000 desktops.

Qualcomm is mostly a Network Appliance NAS shop and has SAN gear from EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and 3Par. Storage resides in five data centers spread over two buildings. "We've got storage arrays scattered all over the place," Ferraro says.

In September, the San Diego-based firm started a consolidation project to streamline its data center, increase storage utilization, and reclaim data center space. Ferraro says that project will be completed next week.

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