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British University Shifts to Fluid Data SAN

UK-based Sheffield Hallam University has implemented a new storage area network (SAN) using technology from a company recently acquired by Dell. The 33,000-student university has adopted Compellent Technologies' SAN, Storage Center. Dell announced its intent to buy Compellent for $960 million in December; the transaction was completed in February 2011.

The SAN follows a design scheme referred to as "Fluid Data," in which huge amounts of data are analyzed and managed at a granular level and stored to the least expensive drive appropriate to the data's value. Must-have data is moved to faster, more costly drives; data that's hardly ever accessed is put on cheaper and slower drives. The SAN accommodates different drive types, transfer rates, and rotational speeds. A network administrator can manage the storage through a single enterprise management tool.

The school has placed the Dell SAN in its two data centers to support a highly virtualized IT infrastructure with 3,000 computers and 350 physical and virtual servers. The university reported that the Dell SAN has expanded storage capacity from 23 TB to 50 TB; doubled performance; and decreased the storage hardware footprint from 84 rack units to 30.

"In addition to being the only solution that could actually deliver the performance we needed, the amount of flexibility we get from the Dell Compellent architecture in terms of administration and management is phenomenal. It's very, very simple to use," said Dave Thornley, head of networks infrastructure.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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