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Putting together a consolidation plan for better TCO and lower management costs, part 2

Part two on establishing a consolidation plan: I am hoping you will be able to give me an answer. I find your answers well thought out and without bias.

This case study is in a university environment. The following projects need solutions:

- Exchange consolidation from eight separate servers into one manageable solution. There are 3,500 admin users. No student storage is needed.

- Storage consolidation for W2K, Netware and Solaris onto a single manageable solution. They currently have multiple SCSI arrays and a single CPQ SAN. There are over 250 different servers all over the campus and at three remote learning centers.

- Storage management solution. There is no current management for their tape backup or archiving. Departments manage their own backups. The university has Fibre connections between all the buildings and T1s to their three remote campuses.

Please advise on a consolidation plan.


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Click for part 1.

Contact HP/Compaq and see if you can place the internal disks in your current servers into shelves within the SAN storage array. (If they are the newer black one-inch drives, that may be possible if the array is the older SCSI disk-based model like the RA8000 or EMA1200).

For storage consolidation for your 250 servers, I would need to know what they are used for. If Netware is used only for File/Print, then you could consolidate all your Netware file services into a clustered NAS head solution. You may be able to attach the NAS heads to the SAN storage to consolidate NAS and SAN into a single managed pool of storage thereby creating your own little storage UTILITY.

If you have a fast network between buildings on-campus then you may be able to use iSCSI connections to your central SAN. Nishan, Cisco and other players have switches that are multi-protocol and will allow you to use your IP network for block-based access to a central storage SAN. You would need to buy new network cards for the servers that include TOE (TCP/IP Offload Engine) to take the load off the CPU in the system.

Using iSCSI to a central SAN will allow you to consolidate backup into your data center instead of having to do backup at each server. Your remote campus connections are T1 and that is way to slow for storage access. I would retask some of the storage from your other servers into the remote campus for storage needs for those servers. If you add another low-cost SAN storage solution into the remote offices from the same vendor, the included management software should allow you to manage storage resources at the remote campus from a single console at the main campus. This would enable you to add/manage storage in the remote campus servers from the main campus.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Chris

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This was first published in June 2003

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