BANGALORE, 14 OCTOBER 2009 - As the largest paint company in India and Asia's third-largest, the Rs 4,400-crore (USD 960 million) organization grappled with low server utilization rates at its datacenter. The company needed to move all its data - but its three existing SAN arrays were unable to deliver the performance that the growing business demanded and were on the verge of running out of space. Asian Paints' SAN products were fast approaching their end-of-life and the support terms with the vendor were up for renegotiation.
Manish Choksi, CIO and chief of corporate strategy at Asian Paints, could easily plug more storage into the SAN, but he chose to fix the root of the problem since they realized they needed to virtualize their servers and upgrade their SAP ecosystem immediately.
The result of biting the bullet and advancing their overall SAN migration plan by a year saw the consolidation of the three SAN arrays into two newer SAN platforms, which packed fatter disks with better performance. This doubled the throughput of the storage ecosystem and ensured scalability for at least two years.
At Asian paints, low server utilization was a problem and the CIO remedied it by virtualizing the servers
The operation was completed in a 24 hour window of downtime
The upgrade built up scalability for 24 months and the upgraded SAN would now provide untapped space
The storage ecosystem was creaking under pressure, the existing SAN arrays were already peaking in terms of I/O performance, and there was no room to add more.
Additionally, EMC, the SAN array provider, advised the company to move to its newer SAN platform, the DMX family, because the existing Symmetrix and Clariion arrays were going out of support shortly. Now the IT team prioritized the upgrade and started carving out a plan with the relevant size and roll out process. This decision-making cycle lasted about three.
In terms of scalability, performance and redundancy, it is important to right-size a storage solution, and this was one of the first challenges faced.
Touch-up or complete overhaul?
Choksi decided to go with a complete rip and replace of their infrastructure. But this would require the shutdown of all the company's applications, so Choksi convinced the operations to give him a 24-hour window of downtime.
The Symmetrix and the Clariion arrays at the primary datacenter were consolidated to one DMX array. The Symmetrix array at the DR site was migrated to another DMX array. The fiber-channel (FC) switches were also upgraded to fully leverage the 4Gbps throughput now available with the newer DMX platforms. The new arrays were populated with the required disk capacity to last for the next 24 months.
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