Mosgiel-based AgResearch comes into Scott Drummond’s leading edge SAN implementer category (see Open standards driving SANs to masses).
With close to a terabyte of data to back up a day, the state-owned research institute needed a system that would provide a non-stop flow of data.
“With such a large amount of storage and multiple tape drives, the key to getting good performance is keeping the drives streaming,” says IT general manager Phillip Lindsay.
The solution is a Compaq SAN managed by NetVault software from US company BakBone Software, feeding a bank of DLT drives.
“The thing about NetVault is it’s efficient and simple to implement, and provides a cost-effective answer,” Lindsay says.
It backs up the SAN and local servers, coping with data that originates on systems running diverse operating systems.
“We’re using Tru64 Unix, Windows NT and Open VMS,” says Lindsay. Much of the data being produced is genomic information.
NetVault competes with products from Legato and Veritas. According to BakBone’s California-based business development manager, Mike Bridgett, it differs from those in that it was written “from the ground up to be plug and play with SANs”.
“If the SAN’s functional, then NetVault will work with it,” Bridgett says.
His selling line when in the country a month ago was that the product is a “six-minute SAN”, in that it will dynamically discover storage devices on a network within that time.
That was the experience at AgResearch. “It goes out and scans the environment for SAN-attached libraries and devices,” says Phillips, who says the software’s SAN components are clearly integral.
After about a month of running the system, it hasn’t missed a beat, he says.