New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. is the world's fourth largest athletic shoe manufacturer, and one of the fastest growing. We focus on function over fashion. Though we have grown substantially over the past ten years –­ annual sales have gone from $210 million to $1.3 billion –­ we have not lost sight of who we are or from where we came. New Balance has always strived to innovate while driving new-product development and sustainable business growth. The formula demands a first-class information technology (IT) infrastructure of high-end enterprise applications that foster collaboration and enhance productivity.

Our most recent challenge was architecting a data storage area network (SAN) to accommodate a new product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. The SAN also had to support customer relationship management (CRM) and financial systems, plus dispersed product, manufacturing and sales teams using the PLM solution. Most importantly, this PLM solution had to enable the design teams to work collaboratively using a standard toolset. We decided to consolidate SAN islands into a single, enterprise-wide resource that New Balance's global business groups could access. We wanted to scale this network without losing control over specific applications, the demands of which change by the day, if not the hour.

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