Kiwi organisations explore future storage trends

At HP's recent StorageWorks conference, SANs, disaster recovery and information lifecycle management were on the agenda

The Bank of New Zealand’s John Baddiley knows that in 2009 he and his team will be separated from their datacentre.

The bank is moving to a new custom-designed headquarters on Queen St, Auckland, and the datacentre will not be housed in the building. Baddiley is already planning for that change, looking at “lights out” datacentre functionality so the facility can be operated remotely and as automatically as possible.

He wants to gain a clear undersanding of exactly what such a solution might look like and implement it this year. Next year he wants to trial remote management technologies and processes so that by the time BNZ moves to its new building he is 100% certain the solution works.

BNZ was one of a dozen New Zealand organisations that travelled to Vietnam last week to attend Hewlett-Packard’s annual StorageWorks conference, looking for answers to a diverse range of data storage challenges.

Baddiley, BNZ’s enterprise architect, is also looking at information lifecycle management technologies, to automate the management and archiving of data and to extend his investment in the bank’s existing HP storage-area network (SAN). Specifically, he is looking at integrated archiving and backup technologies.

For Anthony Barrett, Mainfreight’s Australia-New Zealand IT manager, a new datacentre is also top of mind. Mainfreight has just commissioned one with HP equipment and wants to network with other users to understand how to get the best possible utilisation from the investment.

“We’ve done quite a bit of consolidating already,” he says. “Most of the stuff will also be virtualised at the application layer but not at the database layer — not yet.”

Mainfreight is moving to its second generation of SAN technology and pushing for more application virtualisation, though Barrett says database virtualisation is not on the agenda for now.

One who is just starting down the path of consolidation is Andre Joubert of local travel and ticketing software developer Interactive Technologies. He is seeking to restructure his IT and get the best use out of the company’s technology to serve in-house staff and clients. Not a current HP user, Joubert says introducing a SAN and consolidation is part of his immediate planning. He went to Vietnam to understand best practice in the area and to help prepare a business case for storage change and consolidation.

“We have 52 servers running SQL and Microsoft and need to consolidate,” he says.

For Channa Jayasinha, CIO of the Ministry of Economic Development, the issue is SAN expansion. The ministry already has a significant investment in HP SAN and blade server technology. “I’m here to look at future technology roadmaps and to touch base with other customers in the user group,” he said at the conference.

The ministry already runs three HP SANs and plans to deploy two more in the next year. The last SAN deployed was to serve online applications such as the Companies Office. The next SAN, the ministry’s fourth, will be for disaster recovery and the fifth for development.

Jayasinha was looking at business availability, 24 by 7 replication, redundancy and disaster recovery and also ease of maintenance and management technologies while at Storageworks, as well as consolidation and developing a roadmap for virtualisation.

— O’Neill attended StorageWorks as a guest of HP


Ballancing storage demand and capacity

New Zealand agricultural nutrients company Ballance Agri-Nutrients was created when five separate businesses came together around 2001.

The company’s main technology challenges stem from the continued drive to amalgamate, says IT manager Mark Roberts. He says in that sense, IT follows the dynamics of business management.

“We still have distributed file servers but the majority of the storage is centralised at Mt Maunganui,” he says.

Roberts says his main storage challenges are about information management. This is not really a technical problem, but rather about making sure data is valid and making use of it.

Roberts says he went to StorageWorks because he is an existing HP customer. He is looking at the company’s strategies to see if they can be used to lead Ballance down the right storage management track.

Ballance runs a HP EVA 8000 machine, Roberts says. This replaced storage from another vendor whose service was less than satisfactory. He says there are advantages in a one vendor solution, especially in the regions of New Zealand where service and support are key.

Roberts says data proliferation is an issue for Ballance, as for other companies, but his job is to identify management strategies to meet that issue and get value out of company data.

While Ballance has largely centralised its storage, he says, that does not necessarily mean the data is consolidated.

The company has introduced some virtualisation of its infrastructure as well, though he notes the term means different things to different people.

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Tags disaster recoveryData CentrestorageHewlett-Packardsaninformation lifecycle managementBNZ

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