15 August 2003, Information Systems Services,
on behalf of the University, entered into
a contract with the Dell Computer Corporation
for the supply, installation and support of
a new storage area network (SAN) and centralised
backup solution (CBS).
The signing of the contract marks the end
of a major procurement phase which began with
the production of a business case in January
this year. The contract will be worth in excess
of £750,000 over 3 years and will provide
for the Universitys growing demand for
So what does this all mean to you as an end
user? Well, hopefully nothing - in the
sense that its introduction will be transparent.
What it will mean is that the way in which
the University manages its data will change.
Did you know that half the Universitys
current disk space is unused but also unavailable?
This is because disk space is locally attached
to individual servers, so the 'space' is in
the wrong place at the wrong time. All this
data can be consolidated onto the SAN which
will offer significant efficiency gains. The
SAN is much more fault-tolerant than conventional
disk, meaning your data will be more available,
leading to decreases in downtime and offering
much improved disaster recovery capability.
The SAN will allow us to implement advanced
features such as data-mirroring (storing more
than one copy of critical data) more easily.
We will be able to take 'snapshots' of our
critical data, such as our SAP database holding
all the universitys financial and HR
data. This is much quicker than conventional
backup to tape (although we will still do
that as well to ensure that all the
data is 'safe').
The SAN and CBS are due to be commissioned
in November this year with key ISS managed
services moving over to the new storage over
the coming 12 months. One of the first systems
to benefit from this will be the new SAP system
hardware, prior to the SAP upgrade in January.
You will be able to access to the SAN via
centrally managed systems and storage space
will also be available for dedicated research
needs too. ISS plan to pilot these services
in spring next year, with the full scale roll-out
across campus taking place next summer. A
second phase of the SAN project is set to
deliver further storage and increased functionality,
particularly in the area of research needs
and data archiving,
More information on the project can be obtained
from Adrian Ellison (firstname.lastname@example.org)