St. Mary and All Angels School

School upgrades curriculum with SAN, in a typical SMB implementation

April 15, 2005

3 Min Read
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When Mike Magaldi joined St. Mary and All Angels School as director of technology four years ago, he was more concerned with getting students to use computers than he was about storing their work. Now, his picture graces at least one SAN vendor's marketing brochures.

Magaldi's SAN story began a couple of years back, when the non-denominational Christian school (K-8) in Aliso Viejo, Calif., began scrambling for gigabytes. A new emphasis on video by the school's 100 teachers and administrators, as well as growing interest among its 835 students, was hammering the small, homemade RAID system Magaldi had built.

"We started in 2002 and 2003 bopping along with five Microsoft servers and local storage. But in 2003, everybody got a digital camera for Christmas, and images and video were integrated into the teaching materials," Magaldi says.

There was also more data coming from the school's eight homegrown video-editing machines, which use software from Pinnacle Systems, and from two computer labs, which are testing sites for certifying students on Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) products. By 2004, the school's storage had risen from about 50 Gbytes to 300 Gbytes, and now it's close to 1 Tbyte.

Not a lot of storage by enterprise standards, but a handful for 800 users, 250 workstations, and one technician, who is also a teacher, struggling to manage garage-built RAID. Magaldi's VAR, Nth Generation Computing Inc. of Irvine, Calif., and San Diego, introduced Magaldi to the StorageWorks Small Business SAN Kit from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and to QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), whose headquarters are nearby.QLogic OEMs software, FC switch, and HBAs to HP for the SAN Kit (see HP SMB SAN Integrates QLogic), which includes a Proliant server and MSA 1000 array from HP. QLogic was able to get Magaldi up to speed quickly on the technology, and by December he had installed 400 Gbytes of storage in four slots of the array.

Magaldi liked everything about the SAN -- its management software, HP's SANsurfer package, OEM'd from QLogic, in particular. "The wizards were great. There's not a lot of maintenance involved," he says.

Magaldi has ordered 500 Gbytes more storage for the array. This summer, when the students and teachers vacate the campus, he'll also upgrade to a larger 8-port QLogic switch. He's also procured a REO disk-backup system from Overland Storage Inc. (Nasdaq: OVRL) for his new network.

St. Mary isn't the kind of customer QLogic and HP have boasted for SANs up to now. It's spent just a fraction of its $100,000 budget on this project. The school gets sizeable discounts from its suppliers, such as Microsoft. It's also enrolled in QLogic's SMB beta program for further cuts. But the school typifies the growing market for small- to medium-sized business (SMB) SANs, one that is changing the way vendors sell storage networks.

QLogic, for example, is starting to devote half its resources to pursuing SMBs like St. Mary through VARs like Nth Generation. According to VP of marketing Frank Berry, the SMB market is as vital to the company's future as the high-end enterprise segment.The numbers tell the tale. Companies like Microsoft have 30,000 VARs; QLogic has about 1,100 high-end storage VARs. Getting even a piece of the SMB business represents sizeable sales. And for SAN makers like HP, there are synergies in mining the SMB business.

Meanwhile, managers like Mike Magaldi will benefit from the vendors' push toward SMBs. For him and others, it will also likely be little trouble to talk about their success in an effort to attract others.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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