An illustration of the need to sell internally-and the potential results-is provided by Bob Massengill, manager of technical services at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC), a medical center and teaching hospital in Winston-Salem, NC.Massengill's organization
implemented its first SAN in 2000, primarily to address two problems: an e-mail system that kept suffering from disk failures, and a desire to spend prudently when the mainframe disk systems went off lease."I was faced with the choice of staying with mainframe-only storage or going to a SAN and also needed to do something about managing the disks on hundreds of servers," Massengill
Keeping everything up and running had become very labor-intensive.
"At that point we felt it would eventually grow tremendously, but from a funding standpoint we couldn't bank on it," says Massengill
needn't have worried.By late 2000, with the Symmetrix fully mirrored, disk failures stopped, mainframe I/O waits disappeared, and people retrieving old e-mails were "blown away" by the improved performance."Word spread fast and pretty soon we had departments lining up and saying they wanted to come aboard," recalls Massengill
did have to worry about, in fact, was being able to grow fast enough."We started putting more users on the Symmetrix and populating our 16-port McData switches, and within six months we had outgrown them," he
recalls.That led him to upgrade to director-class switches from McData."We put in a 64-port Intrepid and kept the two 16-port switches in place," he
says.By then, storage on the SAN had rocketed from just over 2TB to about 8TB.
"A key issue for us was data integrity," explains Massengill
According to Massengill
, the goals of the expanded SAN project were to increase security and integrity for medical records data, patient accounting records, and hospital administrative data; decrease the number of hours needed for daily backups; decrease the number of tapes needed for backups; and free the IT staff from tape mounting chores.
But, notes Massengill, the SAN wasn't intended to simply solve those immediate needs.As part of the new SAN, a StorageTek
Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) system was added "to help us maneuver as the inevitable changes occur down the road," he
The expanded SAN was implemented early this year."In October 2002, we brought the open systems servers over to StorageTek
PowderHorn tape library silo, and in February 2003, we implemented StorageTek VSM and the mainframe piece going into the STK PowderHorn."
According to Massengill
, incorporating the tape library in the SAN led to a decrease in tape count from about 30,000 to just 600.It also saved floor space and tape mount time.Before the project, MVS operators were mounting 1,000 to 1,200 tapes each day, he
says.Mount times were approximately three minutes."Today the staff has considerably fewer tapes to handle and mount times are in the sub-second range," he
says."That means IT staff has time for system monitoring, proactive maintenance, and training."
Integrating the tape libraries and SAN also significantly decreased media failures and decreased backup time by three hours per day."In the past," says Massengill
, "batch cycles ran until 6 AM, so users were unable to access the system until those jobs were complete."However, hospitals begin admitting patients for day surgery at 6 AM, so if jobs ran beyond that hour it impacted the admissions and medical staff."Today those batch jobs are finished by 3 AM, offering more system access to users," he