Xerox Canada data storage case study

Located in Toronto, Xerox Corp.’s Document Technology Center (DTC) program manages nearly a terabyte of data for its diverse list of corporate customers. The DTC provides printing and imaging services for a worldwide base of customers. Huge print runs, quality demands, and Xerox’s global network attract a wide base of companies. The DTC in Toronto is the Canadian branch of a network that spans the globe from North America to China.

After a significant rise in customer demand, one of the first steps the Toronto DTC took was to begin to restructure its data storage systems and filesystems. First, the IS department installed new storage hardware, incorporating a RAID system with a high-capacity DLT tape library. This setup provided a significant archive and gave data administrators the ability to work efficiently with online data.

With frequently used files online in the RAID system, users have fast access to in-demand data. Files that are used less frequently are routed to the DLT tape library for permanent archiving. While only 1 TB is currently in use, the Toronto DTC has nearly 2 TB of storage available for future projects.

Because of the size and complexity of its data storage pool, the Toronto DTC needed a data storage software program to manage its extensive files. Relying on a technology already in use in many US DTCs, the Toronto branch chose to integrate a software program from LSC (Eagan, Minn.). Called SAM-FS (Storage and Archive Manager File System), this software efficiently controls enterprise data by combining a high performance filesystem and volume manager with fully integrated storage and archive-management features.

SAM-FS worked seamlessly with the existing Unix File System (UFS) and allowed data administrators to logically order their customers’ files. By automatically and transparently copying files from the disk cache to an automated DLT tape storage library, the software gives the appearance of an infinite disk. SAM-FS controls all storage-management functions while also providing a high-performance filesystem, which allows hardware to function at near device-rated speeds.

After the successful installation, the Toronto DTC could effectively manage its large and complex data storage pool. The storage hardware and intelligent software work together to ensure that customers’ files are safely archived while also being easily accessible.