MSP Installs Mobile NAS Solution
This MSP (managed services provider) installed a NAS (network attached storage) solution to meet the storage needs of an offshore engineering firm.
The I.T. Pros is an MSP located in San Diego. "SMB customers come to us for partial or complete outsourcing of their IT operations," explains George Vahle, VP of sales and marketing for The I.T. Pros. "Our goal is to deploy tools, services, and resources that allow us to proactively maintain and service IT departments under the terms of SLAs [service level agreements]."
One of the solutions The I.T. Pros provides is data storage. Recently, the company won a NAS installation for Fugro Pelagos, Inc., a company specializing in offshore survey services. Fugro Pelagos provides solutions that map and display the seafloor. It produces seabed imagery, topographic elevations above the waterline, and digital imagery of the land and the land/water interface.
Recommend NAS To Address The Data Explosion
Two years ago, Fugro Pelagos recognized it was facing a data explosion. That explosion was primarily due to an increasing number of projects and the larger data sets being produced by the increasingly sophisticated data collection equipment. It also became more important to have the data in a nearline (quickly available) configuration as opposed to archival. Fugro Pelagos was using direct-attached storage (DAS) and a Dell SAN (storage area network). The company needed to be able to set up shop at various global locations as different projects occurred.
To address the data explosion, The I.T. Pros recommended NetApp products such as the FAS3050, a midrange-class storage system that can be used in NAS or SAN environments. Fugro Pelagos implemented NetApp FAS3050 and FAS270 systems worldwide, eventually upgrading the FAS270s to FAS3020s. The I.T. Pros and Fugro Pelagos liked the idea of using the same ONTAP OS on all of the NAS products — regardless of the size. The FAS systems worked well for the customer at its data centers, providing fixed primary storage space. However, Fugro Pelagos grew to need storage other than DAS at the remote job sites as well. "The DAS storage required Fugro Pelagos to haul a 'mini' data center to each remote location in order to maintain file backups and some level of dependability," says Vahle. "The smaller projects required dependable data storage, but it was not economical to haul a FAS system to each location. That's where StoreVault was a perfect fit."
In addition to the price point, the familiarity of the ONTAP OS led The I.T. Pros to recommend StoreVault (a division of NetApp) products for the Fugro Pelagos remote sites. Fugro Pelagos purchased three StoreVault S500 rack-mounted storage chassis with 500 GB disk drives, RAID-DP, hot spare, SCSI (small computer system interface), CIFS (common Internet file system) protocol support, and StoreVault's Snap Restore, at a cost of approximately $20,000.
To win this sale, The I.T. Pros competed with VARs selling competitive solutions from top companies such as Sun Microsystems and EMC. The I.T. Pros had a competitive advantage due to the fact that Fugro Pelagos already had a base of installed NetApp FAS systems. As a result, no additional training was required for Fugro Pelagos IT staff to learn a new OS.
In addition to basic storage functionality, the customer now has an additional level of protection through RAID-DP, a NetApp technology that provides data protection in the event of two concurrent drive failures. StoreVault Replication enables administrators to replicate data from a StoreVault S500 to one or more 'destination' StoreVault S500 units. Data can be replicated over a WAN to a remote location to protect data in the event of a disaster or to distribute data to remote offices. This means Fugro Pelagos does not have to transport tape or disk to back up data at each remote location.
As a result of the Fugro Pelagos installation, The I.T. Pros have sold an additional three StoreVault units, with two more expected to be sold in the next two months. Most impressive is the margin to be made selling these products. "We are receiving 30% or more on registered deals with StoreVault," concludes Vahle. The company is earning even higher margins when bundling its managed services offerings with StoreVault products.