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United Rentals Buys Into ILM

As anybody who has tried to implement it knows, successful information lifecycle management (ILM) usually requires more pieces than any single storage vendor can provide.

United Rentals (NYSE: URI) is a good case in point. The equipment rentals company has a multivendor SAN with 15 Tbytes, a 5-Tbyte NAS and three tiers of disk storage. The firm has a data center in Shelton, Connecticut, and a DR site at an undisclosed location to protect records from 760 rentals locations spread throughout 48 states, Canada, and Mexico.

Yet until six months ago, senior systems administrator Bonnie Stiewing found she couldn't set up an ILM system that worked for both United Rentals' users and administrators.

United Rentals storage is divided into three tiers of disk. Tier one consists of high-speed Fibre Channel, tier two is lower speed Fibre Channel (FC disk with no global cache), and the third tier is SATA.

The problem was getting data to the right tiers without the users knowing about it. United Rentals has 14,000 employees, and Stiewing says at least 500 of them need to access data all the time. And to complicate things further, she says company data is growing about 115 percent a year.

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