PLATFORMS: IBM 9672 System/390 CMOS processor running OS/390; IBM RS/6000 R50 running AIX 4.2; IBM RS/6000 SP, consisting of 77 nodes running AIX 4.1 and 4.2; IBM AS/400 running OS/400; DEC 4100 Alpha running VMS

BACKGROUND: ShopKo, a regional retailer, operates nearly 150 stores in 16 states. The company carries branded and private-label goods such as women's, men's and children's apparel, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and body care. It also carries housewares, small appliances, furniture, music/videos, toys, sporting goods and seasonal goods. ShopKo's health services unit, ProVantage, provides pharmacy and optical management services and health decision support services.

PROBLEM SOLVED: EMC Symmetrix Enterprise Storage is the foundation enabler behind all of our OLTP, client/server applications and data warehouses. Symmetrix provides ShopKo with large-scale "industrial strength" open system disk storage to run our mission-critical applications, data warehouse and related applications. With EMC, ShopKo shares information between different host environments, allowing us to quickly access and analyze data from anywhere on our enterprise.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Functionality is offered through EMC's Enterprise Storage Platform (ESP) software and the EMC Celerra File Server. 1) Enterprise Storage Platform (ESP) software allows us to connect both our mainframe and open systems into one, centralized Symmetrix Enterprise Storage system. This not only simplifies data management, but because of its flexibility, also complements our aggressive growth strategy. 2) The Celerra File Server provides ShopKo with a resilient NFS (Network File Server) for our mission-critical applications. This centralized and specialized file server provides a dedicated pure NFS service with high performance, reliability and availability for our applications. This combination of EMC Enterprise Storage software and systems provides increased data availability, improves information management and heightens data warehouse performance. ShopKo hopes to leverage additional software features of the enterprise-wide storage subsystems in the future.

STRENGTHS: EMC Enterprise Storage offers information availability, flexibility and performance for our data warehouse. It brings "industrial strength" storage to an enterprise suite of computing resources. This allows us to concentrate on delivering solutions to our business and service to our customers and gives us competitive advantage by bringing the right storage to the right platform at the right time.

WEAKNESSES: EMC is challenged by the fact that IBM does not support Fibre Channel for its IBM RS/6000 SP. This limits the number of IBM RS/6000 or IBM RS/6000 SP nodes that can connect to a Symmetrix storage subsystem at one time. EMC provides Fibre Channel for other platforms.

SELECTION CRITERIA: System administrators are hard to find, and we don't need them spending their time on recovering disk failures or trying to minimize system impact during a disk drive recovery. EMC gives ShopKo's system administrators the ability to focus on their jobs and let the storage subsystem and storage provider manage disk recovery and performance minimization during mirror disk recovery.

DELIVERABLES: The reports we get are basic RMF and IOSTAT reports from the operating systems. We are working on utilizing Symmetrix manager to produce more configuration information for configuration planning.

VENDOR SUPPORT: EMC provides excellent pre- and post-sales support as well as continued top-notch technical assistance.

DOCUMENTATION: EMC's product collateral has transformed over the past year to be more informative and much more easily understood. EMC has focused on making better documentation available to its customers.

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