Start-Up Research Firm Turns To RAID To Solve Storage Problem
Maryland-based company turns to Massachusetts VAR because of VAR's reputation earned from installation several years earlier.
According to Kevin Williams, iAtlas' senior engineer, it is the fastest search engine in the industry today. InfoLens, combined with the company's own iAtlas Database and other advanced research technology, can retrieve information that conforms to clearly defined specifications provided by iAtlas' clients. Such specifications might include industry type, geographic location, size of organization, and whether or not the organization has one or several Web sites. By identifying this targeted information, iAtlas' clients can significantly increase traffic to their Web sites as well as expand their advertising base.
Firm Determines Storage Requirements
The entrepreneurs who started iAtlas knew early on that they would need a robust, high-performance storage system. They had determined that a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) system would be ideal for iAtlas' in-house storage needs as well as for its Web servers.
When iAtlas began its search for an appropriate RAID system, the firm had a good idea of what it needed. The successful RAID system had to offer superior performance, be flexible, and be expandable. In addition, both the RAID controller and the subsystem should provide LVD (Low Voltage Differential), which will allow for up to 12-meter cable lengths and up to 15 devices. Because the RAID system would be so vital to the success of the firm, the system had to have a means to manage and monitor the entire RAID system from a remote location, thus ensuring that the system would receive attention as required.
Finally, because the principals at iAtlas planned to use their own employees to install and administer the system, it had to be simple to install and maintain. Because the RAID system was vital to their operations, the entire system would have to be delivered by the end of the year.
Finding The Right VAR And The Right RAID System
When the principals began the search for an appropriate vendor, in early October, iAtlas' Vice President of Content and Operation, A. Clayton Kile, Jr., was reminded of an earlier relationship he had had with System Performance, Inc., a VAR from Needham, MA. The company specializes in high-performance servers and storage solutions. Larry Conroy, president of 10-person System Performance, had known Kile for several years and had installed a storage system for Kile's previous company several years earlier.
Among System Performance's vendors is nStor, a provider of quality RAID systems. When Kile advised Conroy what iAtlas was seeking, Conroy offered the nStor RAID system. The multiple-channel CR8L RAID controller uses Ultra2 SCSI with LVD and features dual, redundant power supplies and cooling fans that are all hot-swappable under load conditions. The RAID subsystem is also LVD-based, so that the LVD functions from controller to drive. nStor also was able to provide its AdminiStor Manager storage management software. This software suite features remote management and monitoring capabilities embedded in a Java-enabled application. Because AdminiStor Manager runs on any Java-enabled browser, it is both platform- and operating system-independent.
After testing the nStor RAID system against other contenders for iAtlas' business, the company chose the nStor solution, even though it was nowhere near the cheapest product offered. The RAID system was delivered during the 1998-99 holiday season and, according to Kevin Williams, is still being installed by iAtlas' technicians. All reports of results so far have been positive.