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SANmelody – Experiences from a UK Manufacturing Installation

Truck-Lite, the worlds largest commercial vehicle lighting company, 12 months ago illuminated it’s storage with virtualisation to provide higher utilisation of existing resources, thin-provisioning and disaster recovery for its European operations.

We go back to see if a year on, the cost–effective, reliable and robust storage utilisation has truly been gained using DataCore and Virtual Iron.

Truck-Lite Europe is part of the largest commercial vehicle lighting company in the world with a customer base that includes Volvo, Daimler Chrysler, Scania, Ford, GM and JCB.

Problem 1: Watertight Disaster Recovery Required:

Mark Aylwin, IT Support Team Leader, Truck-Lite Europe noted, “Like so many other manufacturers in the UK, we were forced to catapult Disaster Recovery to the top of the priority list in the wake of the Buncefield Oil inferno in 2006, forcing us to fully explore ‘what-if worse-case’ scenarios.” Although not an obvious terrorist, flooding or hazard risk, Buncefield acutely demonstrated that external forces outside of an organisations’ control can dramatically affect business, forcing IT Departments to commence watertight Disaster Recovery planning procedures.

Problem 2: Growing Data Difficult to Control and Manage:

In addition Truck-Lite were experiencing growing inflexibility and management headaches provided by the existing Direct Attached Storage that only allowed access to a finite amount of pre-allocated disk. Frustratingly, the IT Department could see that some servers had plenty of free disk (anything up to 25% of free disk space was residing idle on other servers) but they were unable to apportion this to needy servers – and so it became apparent that the automated management of capacity provisioning and the auto-recovery/auto-failover data protection offered by an intelligent virtualised Storage Area Network could hold the answer to both problems.

The Solution:

New Datum proposed a combination of Virtual Iron as the virtual server platform with two DataCore SANmelody 2.0 Dell Windows 2003 servers providing synchronous mirroring and auto failover as the DR solution; the IT Department were immediately impressed with the low price tag and the potential cost savings they could make over the alternative proposals. But most importantly, they were compelled with the flexibility of being truly agnostic; both for past and future investments. The DataCore SANmelody option has meant that Truck-Lite are not bound to a particular hardware provider for servers, disk, licences or upgrades.

They have enjoyed the flexibility of choice for their current mixed environment now and in the future.

The Result a Year on:

Truck-Lite Europe have dramatically improved their data protection service level agreements and continue to set the stage for further hardware savings and virtualisation across the organisation.

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