Trade Show Presence Leads To Sale
In these days of tough economic times and uncertain travel arrangements, VARs may be hesitant to attend trade shows. But these are the best places to drum up new business. Just ask integrator EAGLE Software how it landed a $125,000 sale.
Cox Interactive Media (CIM) (Atlanta) faced a huge backup problem because of its outdated storage system. With 22 cities depending on it to maintain their local Web sites, CIM was keenly aware that to expand their client base would only make the backup problem worse. The CIM IT staff knew that the backup system needed more horsepower, more tape drive capacity, and NAS (network attached storage) technology. But beyond this, they knew that a SAN (storage area network) was the key to making backups smooth and ensuring uptime for the Web sites.
In 1999, the paths of CIM and integrator EAGLE Software Inc. (Salina, KS) crossed at the LISA trade show in Seattle. LISA is sponsored by USENIX, which is also known as the Advanced Computing Systems Association. This meeting made CIM consider EAGLE Software when it was ready to install its SAN. For the last 10 years, EAGLE has specialized in offering and integrating data backup products. In addition to hardware and software, EAGLE specializes in integrating the backup system and providing client training and support.
NAS Solved Half Of The Problem. Time To Call In The VAR
CIM had already purchased several Network Appliance NAS devices as part of the expansion of their network. Its backup software package, Alexandria, was no longer meeting its needs, and it still needed to beef up the way it served files to its clients like VegasValley.com and LAInsider.com. These Web sites can act as home pages and display content like news, local sports information, and traffic reports. In 2000, CIM achieved the status of the number one-rated local city site network in the country.
Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of EAGLE Software, said that his company was able to put together a SAN proposal for CIM that proved throughput and interoperability. Hiechel knew that to integrate the new NAS appliance into a SAN, the SAN's components had to be completely compatible. A crucial component of any SAN is the switch, and Vixel (Bothell, WA) made the only switch, the 8100, that was certified with the NAS appliance. The Vixel 8100 would be able to handle the backup of both the NAS appliance and also CIM's Sun server. The switch is capable of zoning off pieces of the SAN and backing up data from multiple sources. Since this installation, the Vixel 7100 has been developed.
A Remote SAN Installation? You Must Be Crazy
Configuring a SAN is complicated in itself, but this one was even more challenging, because it was done remotely. Hiechel said that remote installations such as this are very challenging, and this one particularly because the installation site was actually a colocation owned by Exodus. "We had to work with Exodus to do the installation and ensure their level of comfort with having us perform it remotely." CIM had provided the integrator with a topology of the legacy system, and EAGLE Software then created the SAN in its own offices, creating a compatibility matrix. Once that was done, the entire SAN was shipped to the Exodus data center in Herndon, VA. Other components that had to be completely tested prior to installation included a SpectraLogic 12000 tape library with four AIT drives and a native Fibre Channel connection. Also included in the $125,000 SAN was a JNI 1063 HBA (host bus adapter) which was needed for the Sun Solaris server.
David Jonas, UNIX Systems engineer for CIM, said, "We have a lot of small files and database content and are currently migrating all of this data to the SAN. With the SAN, we have 3 TB of capacity available to us now."
From the time CIM and EAGLE Software met until the system was installed was a little more than a year. Hiechel reported that sales cycles of more than six months are not uncommon in his business. "The visibility of being at the trade show helped get the sales cycle moving, but because all of our technicians are certified in the products we sell, we can handle any potential problems down the line. If CIM had purchased its solution through a catalog, they may not have gotten all of the components up and running."Questions about this article? E-mail the author at AnnS@corrypub.com.