NZDF to pull army, navy, airforce storage together

The New Zealand Defence Force is close to selecting a vendor for its $1 million storage project.

THE New Zealand Defence Force is close to selecting a vendor for its $1 million storage project.

NZDF has declined to name which two storage providers it has shortlisted, but Compaq and EMC gear figure heavily in storage area networks (SANs) recently implemented by the Army, Navy, Airforce and Defence headquarters.

In a report for NZDF delivered in mid-January, US consultancy Gartner Group recommended two companies out of the main storage companies — EMC, Compaq, IBM, Hitachi and Network Appliance.

Gartner also advised Defence consolidate its storage as much as possible rather than have point solutions dotted around the country, and that organisations should buy storage when they need it, not before.

“The aim is to come up with a strategy for the next two to three years,” says deputy director of command control and information systems Warwick Sullivan. “Storage is quite volatile so we don’t want to lock ourselves into something too long-term.”

NZDF has about two terabytes of data to be stored, says Sullivan.

“We have experienced a large and rapid growth in storage partly due to greater use of online computing and GIS. Each business unit was anticipating a storage increase and putting in bids for capital funding,” he says.

“It became clear we were in danger of moving down different tracks at different paces so we put all storage requirements into one project.”

Sullivan says some fighting forces have specific needs for storage and IT support which will still probably have to be addressed by point solutions. However, the main aim is to consolidate and provide storage from the same product family.

“We want storage across the organisation which leverages economies of scale and our existing expertise, training and knowledge.

“These are the things that make up 60% of the cost of storage as opposed to hardware.”

Although Defence says it had the expertise to do a strategic storage study but didn’t have people available, so commissioned Gartner.

NZDF will be carrying out the project over the next 18 months.

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