Storage Area Networks

"Your data is one of the most important and valuable assets your school has. Using and protecting that data is critical."

Schools are finding that the amount of data they store is increasing faster than anticipated. Servers are running out of storage space and backup solutions can't keep pace. The loss of a server or hard disk could make it impossible for your school to function normally for days. A Storage Area Network could be the answer.

What is a Storage Area Network?

A Storage Area Network (SAN) provides storage space to your existing servers across a network. The physical storage of a SAN can be kept in multiple locations but it's managed as one virtual unit. This makes it possible for you to:

  • Save money by consolidating physical storage space. Utilisation typically rises from 40% to 80%
  • Slow your server and storage upgrade and replacement cycle by providing existing servers with almost limitless storage
  • Store data in a High Availability (HA) configuration. The loss of a hard disk or storage solution will no longer lose any data or cause any downtime
  • Use Snapshots to back up your data to tape during the day with no impact on your business
  • Replicate your data to another building or branch office providing you with an excellent foundation for a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan

Our SAN storage solutions are platform independent and work with many different types of servers including Windows, VMware, Xen, Virtual Iron, Mac OS, Linux, Unix and more.

Protect and manage your data

Many schools cannot back up their data as consistently or as cost-effectively as they would like. Instead they have been forced to devise different backup strategies for various types of data that vary in frequency according to how critical the data is. By using SAN technologies such as Snapshots and Mirroring you can achieve continuous backup, with no more overruns or deciding which files can be excluded from a backup. You'll be able to restore or roll back data without your users even realising there was an issue.

High Availability Mirroring stores your data in two separate locations within the SAN. Even the most serious failure won't cause any interruption to your servers or stop you from accessing your data.

Comprehensive disaster recovery

Using a SAN it's possible to constantly replicate all of your data to another SAN located in different building or another site'it could be a few metres or hundreds of miles away. Should disaster strike, thanks to Remote Site Replication, your data will be immediately available and ready for use at the remote site. You won't waste or lose time waiting for data to be restored from tape! And you'll have peace of mind knowing your data is always safe.

A storage solution that grows as your data grows

Our SAN solutions are scalable and modular. As your data needs increase your SAN grows with you.

Implementing High Availability Mirroring or Remote Site Replication isn't a decision you have to make at the beginning. You can add features and options as you need to. Additional storage capacity can simply be connected to your SAN as and when you need it.

Fewer server replacements and upgrades

Many servers are upgraded or replaced simply because they've run out of storage space. Our SAN solutions incorporate a technology called Thin Provisioning which allows you to allocate your servers as much storage space as you like - 2TB, 10TB, 100TB; whatever you think they need now and in the future.

But unlike traditional storage systems a SAN with Thin Provisioning only needs as much physical storage space as you're actually using. For example, your e-mail server may be using 400GB but using our SAN you could assign it 2000GB (2TB) of storage space to allow for future growth.

Because of Thin Provisioning your SAN would actually only need 400GB of physical storage space i.e. what the e-mail server is actually using. As the amount of data you store increases, you simply need to make sure your SAN has sufficient capacity to store what your servers are actually using. The ability to use virtual storage space stops servers from running out of disk space, minimises downtime and prevents the need to upgrade or replace individual servers or storage systems.

Thin Provisioning saves you unnecessary capital and labour expenditure and reduces your running and energy costs.

Comprehensive help and support when you need it

We understand that your IT system is mission critical and to ensure it is continually available our technical support is accessible whenever and wherever you need it. Help from qualified technicians is available by telephone, e-mail and Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And if a hardware fault occurs it's covered by a 4 hour on-site warranty.

If you'd like a free consultancy meeting to find out whether your school could benefit from a SAN solution, email us at info@ictfoundry.co.uk and we'll give you a call back at a time to suit you.