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QUALCOMM Automates Backup with P1000 Automated Tape Libraries

Published
  • December 01 1998, 1:00am EST
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BACKGROUND: Headquartered in San Diego, QUALCOMM Incorporated develops, manufactures, markets, licenses and operates advanced communications systems and products based on its proprietary digital wireless technologies.

PLATFORMS: P1000 tape libraries are either directly attached to host systems or to dedicated network backup hosts. There are over twenty (20) P1000 tape libraries deployed at QUALCOMM supporting hardware platforms such as Auspex 7000, Sun Ultra 1, Network Appliance F330/540/630 and SunOS, Solaris and Data ONTAP operating systems.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Over the last few years, QUALCOMM has more than doubled its personnel resources from 4,000 employees to well over 10,000. With a tremendous amount of data to back up, coupled with a limited number of automated backup systems available, daily backups were taking more than 24 hours to complete. System administration initiated activities to evaluate and procure automated backup systems using DLT (Digital Linear Tape) technology because it provided the best price/performance ratio versus other technologies and extremely high data capacity. It was determined that the P1000 Series from ATL Products met the following requirements: its high drive-to-tape ratio (4 drives/30 cartridges) provided the number of drives necessary to backup large systems quickly or several smaller systems; its high storage capacity provided over 2 terabytes of swap-less backup; its compact form factor made it easily rackable ­ saving valuable computer-room floor space; it employs a simple design with few moving parts which made it simple to setup and install; and its GUI front panel provided an intuitive interface for the backup operators.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The P1000's rackable form factor allows numerous options for deployment. We can directly attach P1000s to larger hosts and servers to provide the maximum speed for backup and restoration of data, yet its design also allows us to install one or two in a small lab.

STRENGTHS: The operations staff finds it's easy to swap tapes, troubleshoot and determine P1000 activity using the GUI front panel. Due to the rackable form factor, the P1000 can be easily reinstalled. The P1000 is shipped fully configured, tested and ready to use; and the P1000 is highly reliable because it has a solid design with few mechanical parts, thus reducing points of failure and associated downtimes.

WEAKNESSES: The GUI front panel can tend to be slow but doesn't affect library operation. At times, it is hard to manipulate and won't function until the robotics operation completes. The tape inventory system is slow ­ the operations staff would like faster tape inventory cycle times

SELECTION CRITERIA : QUALCOMM found the P1000 to be reliable, with few operating problems. The flexibility of the P1000 is essential in meeting our criteria for ease of deployment in differing QUALCOMM computing environments. As it related to testing the swapping mechanisms of various units, the P1000 performed and continues to perform with 100 percent reliability. The P1000's GUI front panel also provided another advantage. Once the P1000 libraries are deployed, they are managed by an operations staff which requires access and a good depiction of the P1000's activities and internal operations. This is successfully achieved through the GUI front panel. No other system we tested provided a GUI front panel.

The reliability of the library and flexibility of deployment were the two most important criteria to system administration. Additionally, the P1000 needed to work well with the IntelliGuard Bud Tools software used for backup and restoration of QUALCOMM data.

DELIVERABLES: The P1000 has delivered virtually maintenance free, 100 percent reliable backup.

VENDOR SUPPORT: During the pre- implementation, QUALCOMM representatives were very impressed with ATL's professionalism, knowledge and prompt responsiveness to issues raised. During the post-implementation, only one service call was placed for twenty (20) delivered systems. A service call was placed on a Friday evening (at 7:30 pm), and the problem was solved immediately that night.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided was complete and easy to understand. Some of the GUI front panel depictions in the manual and the unpacking instructions were not as accurate as they could be, but were easy to figure out.

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