CPA Firm Makes MITI SAN Solution the Heart of the Data Center
Company: Full-service regional accounting and consulting firm Industry: Financial Services
Platform: Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003
Applications: Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Citrix® MetaFrame® , SalesLogix® CRM, Oracle® -based medical billing, SharePoint® , CommVault® QiNetix™
Challenges: Cost efficient solution required superior data/application access for professional staff in the field as well as easy management and efficient backup and recovery
Solution: Centralized data center eases management, provides provisioning without disruption and improves data protection while additional arrays at a remote site allow for replication
one of the 25 largest CPA firms in the United States, employs over 500 people in 11 offices throughout Wisconsin. The Firm offers a wide variety of services to its 9,000 customers, including large corporations, small companies, and individuals. In addition to standard accounting and tax services, the firm offers investment management, retirement planning, medical billing, merger and acquisition management, payroll processing, valuations, and technology consulting on accounting and manufacturing applications.
Infrastructure Upgrade In January 2006, CIO Jim Ticker launched an infrastructure overhaul of the Appleton headquarters data center and Green Bay backup data center. This included revamping the wide-area network (WAN), upgrading all desktops and laptops to Windows® XP, migrating from Lotus Notes® to Microsoft Exchange 2003, upgrading the Citrix farm, and shifting to a SharePoint intranet. UNIX® , Windows NT, and Windows 2000 servers were all upgraded to Windows Server 2003. On the storage side, Ticker felt it was time to look for something new. The most pressing problem was an old storage system that was undersized and badly cramping the company’s expansion. Upgrading was complex and costly, and staying with the equipment meant Ticker could buy only half the required capacity increase given his budget. “Also, the existing array was a hassle, ” he continues. “If we wanted to bring in a new server or resize a logical unit number (LUN), we had to call an outside technician. I wanted to manage data in-house. ” After looking at SAN solutions from MITI , Ticker investigated iSCSI- based SANs and found that he could buy the required capacity today and grow it as needed at a reasonable cost. After evaluating solutions from MITI, Ticker found the Storage Consolidation Plan to be superior. “I wasn’t comfortable with the architecture of many of the offerings,” said Ticker. “When I looked at MITI Solution, I found that everything is in one box, and as you scale capacity, performance scales as well.” In addition, he was impressed that the solution had better fault tolerance, reliability, ease of use, and management, as well as advanced functionality such as replication, snapshots, and support for SAN boot.
“If my Exchange server hardware fails, I can re-task another server and have email back up in a matter of minutes – not hours. Now the SAN is the heart of the data center, and servers are just front-end processors to data applications and data on the SAN.” Thanks to MITI Solutions Team. - CIO,Jim Ticker