Growing Pains Alleviated By NAS Solution
Living Color Enterprises increased personnel from two to 50 in just two years, but its storage resources hadn't maintained that same exponential growth rate. A NAS solution gave them the space they needed and eliminated network downtime.
It started out as a routine meeting for Monte Brown. As a corporate account manager for Technisource, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, FL), he had an appointment with Kristi Stickell, IT director for Living Color Enterprises. In the last two years, Living Color had grown from a two-person operation to a thriving business employing 50 people. Designers of architectural aquarium systems for customers including Disney Studios, the staff generated scores of large CAD (computer-aided design) files, which they were storing on a network server. Brown and Stickell were meeting to discuss the status of an ongoing upgrade process from small business products to enterprise class products. Everyone at the meeting knew that a storage solution was long overdue; however, they just didn't know how overdue.
Soon after Brown, Stickell, and a group of IT support people gathered, Stickell's beeper went off, summoning her to the server room. Upon her return, she announced the server had run out of disk space and the network could go down at any moment. Coincidentally, Brown had brought a 120 GB Snap Server 4000 from Snap Appliances (San Jose, CA) to the meeting for their evaluation. Brown suggested plugging in the Snap Server. Stickell was apprehensive at first but agreed and was up for the task. Reacting to the crisis, the Technisource engineer accompanying Brown took the unit to the server room and within minutes connected the unit. Less than 10 minutes later and with no training, she was transferring files from the overloaded network server to the Snap Server. The customer was sold on the spot.
An Ongoing Relationship
Technisource (www.technisource.com) has 34 locations and employs 1,800 engineers. At the time of the installation, Living Color had been a Technisource customer for a couple of months. It discovered the solutions provider after experiences with a motley assortment of consultants and resellers who were unable to provide a consistent unified solution. As a company moving from small business to entry level, Living Color wasn't quite ready for a full-scale enterprise system. The affordable (about $3,000 at that time) Snap appliance gives the company some breathing room in the meantime with minimal administration from the two-person IT staff. Installation of the server involves making two connections and turning it on. It requires little configuration because it automatically detects bandwidths and is interoperable. If another storage crunch occurs before a larger system is installed, additional Snap Servers can be added. Since installing the Snap Server, network outages, which had been all too common, were eliminated. File server performance has increased dramatically. According to Brown, this NAS solution is also suitable for manufacturing, education, and graphics customers. Because it will store data of any format, it is also ideal for mixed-network environments.
A Stepping Stone
Brown has faith in the future of Living Color and has already begun thinking about a long-term solution for the custom design company. Based on Living Color's past growth rate, Brown says it has to plan for exponential storage growth as well. A larger server and increased storage capacity are probably inevitable. However, the current NAS solution provides the stepping stone Living Color needs to reach the enterprise level.