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StorTrends SAN brings city's IT in-house

When this Ohio city needed a more comprehensive disaster recovery plan and to bring its outsourced IT projects in-house, StorTrends was the answer.

Outsourcing many of its IT jobs and storing data on NAS had become commonplace for the city of Napoleon, Ohio. But to cut costs while providing adequate data protection, the city needed to invest in a SAN.

The city of Napoleon was working on a limited IT budget to support approximately 150 workstations, 25 virtual servers and Microsoft SQL databases that contributed from 5 TB to 6 TB of total data. In addition to storing some data on NAS systems in-house, heftier IT projects were outsourced. However, the outsourcing eventually became too costly to continue.

"The company that we outsourced with was an HP LeftHand [StoreVirtual] dealer, and I just couldn't justify the money for the amount of storage I got with a LeftHand. So I was looking for the most amount of storage that I could get for the money I had to spend," said Dan Watchman, MIS Administrator for Napoleon. That's where StorTrends came in.

StorTrends is the storage division of American Megatrends Inc., and sells hybrid, all-flash and all-disk arrays that come equipped with storage features such as deduplication, snapshots, auto-tiering and replication.

When StorTrends told me what they had, they were much more reasonable than what I had looked at before.
Dan Watchman, MIS administrator, Napoleon, Ohio

"When StorTrends told me what they had, they were much more reasonable than what I had looked at before," Watchman said, adding he also considered a variety of other SANs, including refurbished equipment from EMC.

After testing it for a short period in the environment, Watchman settled on the StorTrends 3400i model, which is a 3U, dual-controller SAS-based array. StorTrends also currently offers a hybrid model, which wasn't available at the time of Napoleon's purchase, as well as an all-flash model, which Watchman said was equipped with more performance than the city needed.

Limited disaster recovery plan improves with StorTrends

The StorTrends decision didn't hinge on price alone -- it also solved Napoleon's inadequate data protection problem.  Without a SAN, Napoleon was only able replicate at the data level rather than the block level, so snapshots weren't an option. That meant its disaster recovery (DR) plan consisted of taking images of the most important servers using ShadowProtect, which were then stored on a NAS.

Watchman said the ability to do snapshots was high on his list when evaluating new arrays. "I needed to make sure that I had a DR plan that worked, and, at the time, I don't know that I had that," he said.

With the StorTrends 3400i in place, Napoleon now uses snapshots and stores them on a StorTrends array at a DR site in another part of the city, in addition to the image backups that it was already using.

In addition to feeling data is now better protected, Watchman said StorTrends' technical support is beneficial -- from having a technician help with the initial deployment to being readily available should any problems arise.

Napoleon currently has no immediate plans to purchase more capacity, but according to Watchman, the city will look to StorTrends again when that time comes.

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