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In the early '90s, long-distance telephone charges were costing risk management consultancy The NorthPoint Group, Framingham, MA, thousands of dollars a month. So, John Chapman, chief technologist, installed a converged voice and data network to handle interoffice calls.
Cut to 2003. Long-distance charges are negligible, but data transmission costs had skyrocketed, as consultants e-mailed large files between offices.
Last fall, NorthPoint eliminated all its T1, ISDN and point-to-point lines, and linked up its offices across cable and DSL modems connected to the Internet. NorthPoint also installed a distributed data sharing solution from Tacit Networks, consisting of the its Ishared server, coupled with Ishared appliances at remote sites. The remote appliances appear to end users as a standard-issue file server, and the Ishared server coordinates access between central and remote sites, speeding up transmissions with Tacit's Storage Caching over IP (SC/IP) protocol.
Beyond reduced telecom costs, there are fewer duplicate files on NorthPoint's network, Chapman reports. "That was really driving me crazy."
This was first published in January 2004