AIR MARIN, a Thomas Cook AG subsidiary, is one of the top tour operators in Germany. Within the Thomas Cook Group, AIR MARIN specializes in travel in the low cost budget holiday segment. With headquarters in Bonn, AIR MARIN has caused quite a stir in the German market since August 1999 with its slogan "You won't get away for a better price." Operating to 33 different destinations from 32 departure airports, they offer access to the increasingly popular all-inclusive holiday market.




  • Travel & Transport
  • Aerospace & Defense



  • Storage Virtualization
  • Investment Protection
  • High-Availability
  • Flexibility
  • Centralization

AIR MARIN is a 100% owned subsidiary of Thomas Cook AG and one of the top tour operators in Germany. Within the Thomas Cook Group, AIR MARIN has specialized in travel in the low-budget holiday segment; its affiliated company has successfully concentrated on last minute holiday offers. AIR MARIN has been able to secure economical pricing in more than 660 hotels, enabling them to offer low cost access to the increasingly popular all-inclusive holiday market. AIR MARIN, with its headquarters in Bonn, has caused quite a stir in the German market since August 1999 with its slogan "You won't get away for a better price" and operates to 33 different destinations from 32 departure airports throughout the year. 

The Challenge
AIR MARIN's comprehensive range of services has led to continuously growing storage demands. As a result of this data growth, caused through increases in data-intensive communication, file sharing applications and image and catalogue databases, AIR MARIN decided to completely review its storage strategy and infrastructure. It was decided that a Storage Area Network (SAN) solution would allow for centralised storage management and enable future storage growth to be easily accommodated. 

The objective was to implement the most advanced SAN functionality such as snapshot and mirroring, to centralise storage management, to use new and existing resources more effectively and to reduce the operational and administrative costs of storage management. Additional criteria in selecting the right solution were openness, flexibility and scalability to ensure the ability to react to future requirements easily and quickly. 

The Solution
After intensive consultancy by DataCore Partner Systemhaus Schelle AG, AIR MARIN decided to implement a SAN solution based on the SANsymphony network managed storage platform. The SANsymphony solution includes snapshot for backup integration and Network Managed Volumes (NMVs). NMVs enable automatic 'just in time' storage allocation from the storage pool to application servers with no manual intervention and ensure the optimum utilization of storage resources. At the same time Quality of Service attributes for the various storage domains can be guaranteed. 

'Powered by DataCore™' Storage Domain Servers control the allocation of storage to the application server environment. Everyday, approximately 400-500 Gigabyte of data is stored and secured, especially large volumes of back office and image data. 

SANsymphony ensures high levels of availability and performance for the applications. Through centralisation and automation, administration costs have been significantly reduced and AIR MARIN is now able to expand the storage network as required by further capacity growth independently from server or storage hardware. SANsymphony's extensive high availability functions also offer high security and flexibility for backup and restore processes. 

An Interview with AIR MARIN:

How did you learn about DataCore?
Systemhaus Schelle informed us about DataCore and its SANsymphony networked storage platform. Jointly with DataCore, Schelle was responsible for installing the SAN with SANsymphony and will also maintain the system in the future. 

Which other solutions were considered? How long was the selection process?
The whole process including decision-making, selection and concrete plans for the implementation of the SAN took several months. The decision to implement SANsymphony was made within a few weeks, since we were convinced by the comprehensive functionality of this platform right from the beginning and we had not found any comparable alternative on the market. When the performance promised to us was delivered during the test phase, the final decision to choose SANsymphony was made. 

Why did you choose a DataCore solution?
We were looking for a high-availability storage system, whose service delivery could meet our demanding requirements. With SANsymphony, we found a suitable solution, which also offers the functions so urgently needed by our company. Decision criteria that had to be fulfilled by our SAN solution were: flexible storage management, comprehensive and cost-effective SAN functionality such as snapshot and mirroring, good expandability with simultaneously high performance and fault tolerance. SANsymphony offers all these features! 

What is your hardware environment?
Our application servers are primarily running Windows 2000. Our primary storage resources are Fujitsu Siemens S40 disk arrays. SANsymphony Network Edition 5.0 runs on two redundant standard industry servers. The SAN switches are from Brocade. 

What are you doing with your SANsymphony installation?
What do you manage?

At present, SANsymphony is set up in the AIR MARIN data centre with six servers running under Windows 2000. We are using SANsymphony's Network Managed Volumes and the snapshot option. Everyday, approximately 400 - 500 Gigabyte of data is stored and secured, especially office data, DTP and catalogue and image databases. In addition, we use the Storage Domain Server as a boot device for our servers, including Lotus Domino Cluster, NT Server, Internet Application Server and SQL Server.

What are the advantages of SANsymphony?
What do you like best?

SANsymphony gives us the opportunity to set up flexible storage domains and to allocate storage on an on-going basis. This is done automatically via the Network Managed Volumes thus saving time, effort and money. With SANsymphony we were also able to integrate redundancy features easily and cost-effectively into the SAN and to centralise backup tasks. For backups, we use SANsymphony snapshot and mirroring functions. A further advantage is the low hardware costs, because SANsymphony itself runs on standard Wintel servers and because we can choose from various vendors when purchasing new storage. We are not bound to one proprietary supplier and can also use low-cost hardware such as JBOD very effectively owing to SANsymphony's intelligent features. 

How do you profit from SANsymphony? 
SANsymphony offers immediate return on investment through reduced operating costs and personnel expenses as a consequence of the easy, automated and centralised storage management. It is too early to quantify the investment benefits, since we plan to establish an outsourced data centre with additional hardware purchases based on the SANsymphony platform. Then we will be able to profit fully from the advantages offered by SANsymphony. 

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