Saskatoon stems storage problems

The ripple effect of data growth poses a huge challenge for IT departments tasked with maintaining availability and performance, while doing more with less. And it’s a challenge the City of Saskatoon experienced…big time.

Information management, for the city, used to mean frequently and laboriously moving data between disparate servers and storage systems. That was before the city “virtualized” its storage system last year. (Virtualization involves treating storage as a single logical entity regardless of the hierarchy of physical media that may be involved.)

The technology allowed Saskatoon to pool its storage capacity and allocate it across servers as required, said Peter Farquharson, technology integration manager for the City of Saskatoon. The implementation uses a combination of IBM’s Enterprise Storage Server and TotalStorage DS4300 technology.

“We, like everyone else, have this non-stop growth of data,” said Farquharson. Storage virtualization, he said, has enabled the city to harness new storage media — out of a common pool — to accommodate ever-increasing requirements.

The data centre stores all of the municipal government’s information, from financial and land ownership records to utility billings. With storage virtualization, data managers are now able to move those data from one storage device to another.

For the City of Saskatoon, virtualization not only meant a more flexible storage system, it has also led to cost-savings such as reduced employee overtime.

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