PLATFORMS: The Pentium and Pentium Pro-based DIGITAL Prioris servers run Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51 & 4.0, Oracle7, Citrix WinFrame ICA software and DIGITAL Clusters for Windows NT software. The servers support Wyse Winterm terminals.
BACKGROUND: Pro Staff is a contingency staffing agency that provides clients with skilled, experienced personnel. The company employs 60,000 people and serves clients from 180 offices across the U.S.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Pro Staff needed to provide its placement offices around the country with a fast, dependable way to access client, applicant and employee data. High availability is important--if our placement staff can't respond quickly, then our customers will call another staffing agency. DIGITAL Prioris servers, running Windows NT Server, provide the high performance, reliability and scalability we need to deliver staffing information to 900 users across the country.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DIGITAL Prioris servers keep data highly available to users through redundancy features and clustering technology. Each of the 26 DIGITAL Prioris servers have mirrored drives: if one drive fails the other takes over its functions. Since all processing is done centrally, with loads split between 14 DIGITAL Prioris servers running the WinFrame remote application manager, this feature is essential to providing reliable access to our users.
Clustering the DIGITAL Prioris servers with DIGITAL Clusters for Windows NT software brings an added level of redundancy into our environment. Two DIGITAL Prioris Windows NT clusters run our staffing applications, with 24 databases split between the clusters. Another DIGITAL Prioris Windows NT cluster runs the PeopleSoft suite of client/server business applications. Each DIGITAL Prioris cluster supports DIGITAL StorageWorks subsystems in a RAID 5 environment for added availability.
STRENGTHS: The performance, reliability and clustering capabilities of the Prioris servers in a Windows NT environment are the product's main strengths.
WEAKNESSES: The Pentium and Pentium Pro architecture supports a maximum of four processors per server. Since all our DIGITAL Prioris servers already utilize four processors, this limits our upgrade path. We have worked around this issue by clustering the systems to achieve the scalability we need.
SELECTION CRITERIA: DIGITAL Prioris servers received excellent performance reviews and typically outperformed the competition. DIGITAL's proven track record in clustering technology and the ability to cluster servers in the Windows NT environment were key to our decision. DIGITAL also had the local resources available to give us the preconfiguration assistance and post-sale support we needed.
DELIVERABLES: The DIGITAL Prioris servers provide centralized repositories for staffing information, along with staffing and client reports. They also provide accounting, HR, payroll and benefits information.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We have received very good support from the local DIGITAL office. Pro Staff has a large installation of DIGITAL Prioris servers; and, as an early adopter of DIGITAL Clusters for Windows NT technology, DIGITAL has helped us work through some issues. To ensure tight integration and reduce the support/configuration issues when there are multiple vendors, we intentionally purchased all DIGITAL hardware/disk subsystems. An extended DIGITAL service contract provides weekday coverage with a guaranteed four-hour response time, although response is typically less than that.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided, backed by the on- line product information available at the DIGITAL Web site, has made DIGITAL Prioris servers easy to operate.
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