East Resources Taps into the Value of NEC’s D-Series SAN Storage
East Resources Virtualizes the Data Center Using NEC’s New iSCSI SAN Storage Array
Santa Clara, Calif. ― NEC Corporation of America, a leading provider of network, IT and communications solutions, today announced the results of a successful D-Series SAN storage deployment for independent oil and gas exploration and development company, East Resources. Using NEC’s new D3i iSCSI SAN storage array, East Resources has virtualized the data center for higher application availability, faster deployments, improved performance, and greater efficiencies.
East Resources has experienced tremendous growth and its small IT department was managing a demanding array of databases and building servers for data-intensive applications-including Oracle®, Microsoft® SQL Server®, GIS software, mapping tools, billing software, and Munsys® software. The amount of data had doubled in size during 2008 from the previous year and was expected to double again in 2009. East Resources initially had just three, 1TB Dell® PowerVault™ 745N NAS devices later adding Dell servers with six hard drives apiece. Those ran out of space in one year. “We had to buy more and more servers, which led to more management overhead,” said Jason McNutt, IT manager, East Resources. Eventually, the company was operating fifteen different devices, and increasing hardware devices by more than 13 percent per year. Maintaining so many systems was a time-consuming process. Furthermore, running out of storage capacity was not an option. The infrastructure needed to change dramatically.
The IT team recognized the need to upgrade their technology infrastructure to one that was scalable to grow along with their business’ demands. The existing system was too labor-intensive and was pushing the performance envelope to meet existing data needs, much less future requirements. East Resources also wanted to consolidate first: they needed a solution to bring all the data together, reduce the number of physical servers, save space, speed up deployment and facilitate deployment of multiple operating systems. The team investigated and compared enterprise-class systems from EMC, Dell EqualLogic, and others against their SAN criteria. NEC reseller StoreHouse Technologies introduced East Resources to the NEC D-Series, which was in their price range. In addition, NEC’s No Risk Storage 100 percent satisfaction guarantee program encouraged East Resources to bring in the product and try it in their own environment. “The NEC product has impressive features,” said McNutt. “It’s comparable to the EMCs and the EqualLogics. We started testing and we were very satisfied-it was everything we were looking for in a SAN.”
East Resources is running VMware® in production and can now take better advantage of its capabilities. As far as redundancy goes, if a server fails, the IT team can bring up another one in mere seconds. Before the NEC deployment, if a server needed to be rebooted, it took down other parts of the system, affecting the productivity of at least 40 people. “The end user won’t even see the drop in service,” said McNutt. “We can lose an entire host and they won’t know it.”
McNutt also said the NEC system enables the fastest database he’s ever built: “You can just see the data fly.” In fact, the database moved 1.5 GB of data in 8 seconds, from the local drive to the SAN. The speed of copying files across the network has also increased, from between 900 MB per minute and 1.2 GB per minute to 2.5 GB per minute with the SAN. Because all of the software shares are now on the SAN, East Resources can deploy applications and build systems faster.
East Resources relies heavily on the availability of the latest real-time data for its operational needs. Previously, refreshing the databases meant 45 to 90 minutes of downtime because of the interactions between all four databases. So, the refresh had to be done at night. Since the Oracle and SQL Server databases have been moved onto the SAN, East Resources is now able to refresh the databases in just five minutes and the data can be updated during the business day. McNutt said, “Now, I’m considering refreshing the databases twice daily.” NEC’s D-Series SAN Storage has quadrupled the speed of restoring desktops and laptops. Server backup performance has also improved dramatically by using the SAN for disk-to-disk backup. In addition, the ability to plan out technology purchases beyond five years has led to better financial decisions. “I haven’t been able to purchase a server that could last 5 years, but now I have SAN storage that can last for 5 years,” reports McNutt. East has about 50 TB of raw capacity, and can continue to grow the system up to 144 TB of capacity.
Server sprawl and growth has stopped and management time has also been greatly reduced. The IT team is fully supporting 160 people in addition to 30 servers (many of which virtual) across multiple locations. East Resources has gone from 19 separate servers in the datacenter to a virtualized environment of four VMware ESX physical hosts and one vCenter™ management server.
East Resources is excited about the ability to start a mapping project which until, now, had been on hold. The drilling and exploration company has a repository of old, valuable paper maps. Some of these documents are original, hand-drawn Pennzoil maps dating from the early 1800s that are very fragile. Thanks to the additional capacity of the NEC SAN, East Resources plans to digitize these maps so that they will be available to all of the employees and preserved for the future.
The company also plans to move a robust human resources database online, something they were unable to do with their previous system. And they plan to begin a data warehousing project, to enable users to more easily search a catalogue to find their desired data.
“NEC is focused on delivering a dependable, scalable, efficient SAN storage solution with the right features at the right price,” said Josh Eddy, product marketing manager, Advanced Storage Products, NEC Corporation of America. “It’s very satisfying when companies like East Resources can testify to the value they gain through deploying our D-Series storage.” NEC’s D-Series SAN Storage solution is part of NEC’s Dynamic IT Infrastructure. Along with NEC’s broad range of services, the NEC Dynamic IT Infrastructure provides an ideal platform for virtualization, consolidation and business continuity and is ideal for driving greater value and efficiencies in solutions for physical security, law enforcement, emergency response, travel and entertainment, education, high performance computing, and business. This type of infrastructure allows IT organizations to move forward confidently and meet changing and growing business needs in an efficient manner.
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