Focus on... Storage

What do IT decision makers need to consider when it comes to choosing the right type of storage for business?

The main server provides home directory services to the whole engineering department for students and staff, as well as applications serving and administrative file access. The remote, West Cambridge site server provides local home directory and group file space for users at that site. At the same time, it allows for mirroring with the department's main site.

Data availability, integrity and storage manageability has improved, while capacity has been increased, with the potential to scale more easily as and when needed in the future. The storage system is now also more robust, which gives the department the confidence to grow its storage capability in line with its needs.

Stephen Mounsey, Cambridge University's systems manager, said: "The ONStor Bobcat solution provides impressive capacity with an increase in reliability and improved throughput and data recovery (through an efficient snapshot mechanism) compared with our previous system."

The IT services division now plans to invest in additional, high performance storage as well as adding more gateway nodes to provide true high availability.

Mounsey added: "If there's one feature of the ONStor solution that sets it apart from the other products we reviewed it is the affordable and flexible scalability."

Top 3 lessons learned

1. NFS/CIFS protocol-based file systems made the department's legacy storage infrastructure costly to maintain;2. The new clustered NAS-based storage infrastructure lowered the department's lower cost of ownership;3. Affordability and flexibility to grow capacity were key in the choice of a storage infrastructure.

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