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Milking the most out of storage systems

Jack Loo | March 21, 2011
Vietnamese dairy company used a storage management tool to consolidate disparate platforms.

SINGAPORE, 21 MARCH 2011 - Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) is one of the country's leading producers of dairy products. 

Since its privatisation in November 2003, Vinamilk has enjoyed an average growth rate of 21 per cent a year. In 2009, the company recorded its highest profit margin, reaching a record US$544 million in revenue.

The organisation's success meant that the IT team's existing data storage systems was struggling to cope with the ever-increasing data growth.

"With a portfolio of over 200 products, data was growing by about 60 gigabytes per month. This made it necessary for Vinamilk to adopt a new storage solution that is efficient and flexible enough to handle our growing needs," said Tran Nguyen Son, IT director, Vinamilk.

Time consuming

The old setup consisted of two IBM DS8100 storage systems and a single IBM TotalStorage DS4200 disk system, which according to Son, had to be managed and maintained separately.

The business users experienced difficulty in accessing files and applications quickly, as data were spread over three different systems. Transferring the data across systems was complicated and took up a lot of time, which compromised efficiency and affected productivity.

Additionally, due to the time consuming processes of data transfer, there was a tendency for data to be duplicated several times across the three systems and that used up disk capacity that could have been better allocated elsewhere.

The slow data transfer affected global back up and disaster recovery capabilities. The backups took up to a full day for the data to transfer and replicate across the different platforms. This meant that the number of backups scheduled were compromised, putting Vinamilk's business at a greater risk.

The silo-ed platforms meant that the IT team did not have full visibility of storage resources, making it hard to efficiently utilise disk space. They also had to learn how to maintain the three different systems which were complicated and time-consuming to set up.

One single view

To solve the company's storage issues, Son turned to NetApp's V-Series open storage controllers - V6080 and V3170 - to consolidate its separate storage systems into a single management platform. The V-Series is a virtualisation solution that allows Vinamilk to maintain its legacy IBM storage hardware while enabling block and file access across multiple protocols and storage arrays.

"NetApp's platform did not require an expensive rip and replace. NetApp leveraged on and maximised the usage of our existing systems, significantly cutting down the capital investment for our new storage infrastructure. Also, the V-series solution affords us the flexibility to scale up to meet our future business needs," said Son.

In addition, Vinamilk further upgraded its backup and recovery from tape to a disk-to-disk solution, leveraging on NetApp's SnapMirror, SnapVault and SnapCopy technologies to capture, replicate and back up critical data.


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