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Three enterprise users named Storage Innovator award winners

Three enterprise users prove they're on the on the cutting edge of storage management. How'd they do it? With hard work, common sense and really good software tools.


While most companies seem satisfied with maintaining the status quo of their servers, Rohm and Haas actively sought to reduce its volume of servers. Its move to a SAN proved an integral part of its consolidation efforts, eliminating 75 servers with a 20% reduction in the company's Microsoft Windows NT environment.

But, the fact that Rohm and Haas was able to increase its Windows NT storage utilization levels from 30% to almost 100%, was likely what helped the chemical manufacturer to snag a Innovator Award from SearchStorage and TechTarget, a Needham-based online publisher of computer industry-specific Websites.

Rohm and Haas was one of three enterprise storage companies to be selected among more than 50 entries. Other winners included Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee and Grant Thornton, LLP.

The Innovator Awards were created to recognize excellence in the use of storage technology in medium and large-scale organizations. The awards were presented Wednesday at the Storage Management 2002 conference being held here through Friday.

The entries were judged by a vendor-independent panel of storage experts and SearchStorage editors.

Philadelphia, Penn.-based Rohm and Haas exhibited the best utilization of new and existing storage assets in the Asset Utilization category, according to the judges.

"Rohm and Haas clearly demonstrates that IT departments can both maximize existing storage resources and reduce overall IT costs," said Michele Hope, senior site editor of SearchStorage and one of the award judges.

The company demonstrated the ability to eliminate servers and consolidate while its data needs were still growing. According to Jim Booth, one of the judges and SearchStorage Storage Administration expert, most companies are satisfied with just keeping their number of servers static, or "flat-lined." He said he liked the fact that this company actively sought to reduce the number of servers.

"The company represents an enterprise company, and is faced with acquisitions, divestitures and consolidations. This is a common problem with enterprise companies," Booth said. "It requires creativity to determine how best to combine data centers and data from two different companies, during a merger, along with reducing overall IT storage costs."

Two winners were selected for the awards category of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee and Grant Thornton, LLP.

"These candidates both demonstrated a spirit of innovation and a strong focus on preserving their companies' bottom line," said Paul Gillin, vice president of editorial at TechTarget and one of the awards judges.

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Blue Cross/Blue Shield received the award for their extensive overhaul of its IT infrastructure -- including implementation of a storage area network (SAN) -- that allowed the company to save $120,000 per month right away.

"Fundamental to its recent IT initiatives was the installation of a SAN, which permitted huge growth in data volumes with little added cost," said Gillin.

The company's IT restructuring decisions also allowed the IT organization to manage 46T Bytes of data with just four part-time administrators. "Blue Cross/Blue Shields' documented cost savings were impressive, as is its potential to handle future growth through expansion of the SAN," he said.

The second winner in this category, Chicago, Ill.-based Grant Thornton, LLP, achieved several hundred thousand dollars in cost savings by consolidating its locally attached, multi-database architecture, complete with 44 Exchange servers. The end result of the company's consolidation was four Exchange servers, a single database with SAN underpinnings, and a yearly savings of $850,000, with disk savings of $150,000 from year one.

"Grant Thornton's story demonstrates the cost-saving benefits of consolidation," said Gillin. "Adoption of networked storage enabled many of the infrastructure changes to happen and enabled Grant Thornton to save millions of dollars."

For more information

More about the awards

Storage Decisions 2001 Award Winners

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