Server Upgrade Offers Opportunity To Sell NAS Solutions
When Shenandoah University decided to upgrade its servers, its VAR recognized that it was also the perfect time to upgrade to NAS (network attached storage).
Shenandoah University in Virginia is home to approximately 3,000 students. Recently, the university decided to go wireless. The change meant students with wireless computers could access files from one end of campus to the other. Of course, the change also put additional requirements on the university's computer infrastructure.
To solve its problems, the school turned to its VAR of seven years, Attronica (Gaithersburg, MD). Shenandoah knew for years that it needed to upgrade its IT infrastructure. When it also began to run out of storage space, Attronica knew it was a good time to take care of both problems. "They decided to move from their existing Novell Netware environment to a Windows server environment," says Don Bright, VP of sales for Attronica. "With the change in operating systems, it was the perfect time to upgrade several of their older servers. They also needed additional storage capacity. Their storage needs had been growing, and the servers were rapidly running out of space."
NAS Fits The Bill
A decision was made to install new servers from HP (Palo Alto, CA). Attronica then analyzed the school's capacity needs and decided NAS (network attached storage) would be the best solution. The VAR was installing new HP servers and suggested the customer look at the HP B1000 NAS device. The B1000 holds just under 1 TB of storage.
Attronica often recommends that customers consider the B1000. "It is a quality product, and HP offers great service and support," says Bright. "Since the customer's new servers were coming from HP, we were able to install the B1000 and allow the university to have the same support line as all of the servers. As far as the service and warranties, it is also easier for us to deal with just one company than three or four different ones."
Selling the customer on the B1000 was not a problem. Bright notes that most low-end NAS products are pretty close to each other as far as price and performance. The cost for the NAS appliance was around $5,000. The school had been talking to a few other VARs and considering at least two other vendor products. "We knew their environment because we had been performing all of the work on their Novell systems," says Bright. "We were also able to tie the storage and the servers together into one project. Other companies were trying to do just one piece of the puzzle, whereas we were willing and able to perform the entire project."
NAS Upgrade Made Simple
Although Shenandoah was pleased with the solution, its storage needs have continued to accelerate. As a result, Attronica is already looking to upgrade the school to a B2000. With the B2000, the total capacity is 18 TB. The upgrade will initially cost the university an additional $6,000. As the school continues to grow, adding capacity is simply a matter of adding more drives.
Once the new servers were installed, integration was just a matter of connecting the NAS into the network. Installation of the servers was also straightforward. Attronica did a lot of the work before arriving at the customer's site. "We install all of the components, load the operating systems, and install the servers in a rack before delivering the machines," says Bright. "Then we simply have to install it and migrate all of the data over. The actual migration of the data is where all of the time comes in.
"We talk to this customer all the time, and the servers and NAS are working well for them," adds Bright. "The B1000 and B2000 are great solutions for all markets, but they fit especially well in the education market because NAS devices are pretty close to plug and play. For additional storage requirements, especially if it doesn't have to be secure, this solution works very well."