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Seeking SAN Ports in a Storm

Hurricane season is fast approaching in Florida, and for many IT folks that means making sure a disaster recovery plan is in place.

Brett McGill, IT VP of Clearwater, Fla.-based MarineMax (NYSE HZO) - a recreational boat retailer that generated $762 million in revenue last year -- spent the winter making DR more efficient after his company survived a few scares last year.

McGill took two steps to improve disaster recovery. First, he switched from Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) BrightStor ArcServe backup software to IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) to reduce his backup window. Then he installed IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) to replicate data and virtualize storage on his EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) SANs.

With 71 retail locations spread nationally, MarineMax can’t just shut down its SAN every time a hurricane hits the west coast of Florida. So twice last year, McGill and his staff had to relocate data on tape to an offsite recovery center 21 miles inland in Tampa. Another time they had to hook up generators at their main data center after the building’s power went down.

MarineMax didn’t lose data, but McGill was determined to find a better way. “During last year’s hurricanes, we would take tape backups and carry some hardware and pieces of the SAN to our remote cyber center,” McGill says. “There, we’d bring up critical applications and bring up [retail stores in the] rest of the country."

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