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Questerra Maximizes ROI with Sun StorEdge

  • June 01 2002, 1:00am EDT
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REVIEWER: Tim von Kaenel, chief technology officer for Questerra Corporation.

BACKGROUND: Questerra, a wholly owned subsidiary of MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV), provides a breakthrough approach for the enterprise to view, query and analyze all critical data. Questerra's secure Web-based service integrates data such as sales, marketing and customer information from multiple sources across the enterprise. The company's service overlays this information with hosted external data (demographic, geographic, competitive) to create composite spatial views that quickly show how dynamic data sets interact with and affect each other.

PLATFORMS: Sun StorEdge 9960 System is integrated into a SAN environment, a tape library system, Sun StorEdge SAM-FS and QFS data management software, more than 12 Enterprise-class Sun Servers and Web and application server software.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Questerra must offer clients flexible solutions based on their complexity and security requirements, ranging from fully managed to fully integrated. Questerra also provides a large, diverse, pre-processed library of up-to-date spatial information that can be tailored to clients' needs, allowing them to spatially reference any type of business information in real time. Due to the large amounts of data stored and accessed, Questerra needed a solution that provided high availability, extreme scalability and exceptional performance.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Sun StorEdge 9960 system is helping Questerra maximize its ROI by optimizing storage utilization, increasing performance and availability and simplifying storage resources management. The extreme availability of the Sun StorEdge 9960 system helps provide instant access to continuously protected data, which is needed to help solve problems and make business decisions quickly. The high performance, scalability and continuous availability of the Sun StorEdge 9960 system was the best solution for Questerra's SAN environment. The revolutionary switched-fabric architecture with sophisticated RAS features provide the non-disruptive performance and availability. The full offering of data-center-class software to manage, safeguard, share and move valuable data also helped to reduce complexity.

STRENGTHS: Questerra required a robust, fault-tolerant, integrated solution that only Sun could provide.

WEAKNESSES: Because our high-availability configuration is specialized and unique, a multi-pathing driver needed to be modified to fully realize the true performance capability of the Sun StorEdge 9960. Sun followed through to help us tap that potential in a very reasonable time frame without any operational impact.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After a thorough technical evaluation of leading storage solutions providers, Questerra chose the 9960 because of Sun's comprehensive Sun ONE integrated solution, which included SAN storage, a tape library system, data management software, more than 12 enterprise-class Sun servers and Web and application server software ­ all running Sun Java applications. Sun was the only vendor that provided this integrated solution from end to end.

DELIVERABLES: The Sun StorEdge 9960 system allows Questerra to implement a single storage solution for all its service components. Each component has unlimited storage expansion capabilities, including dedicated high-performance access times that don't impact other components sharing the storage platform. This has allowed Questerra to maintain a single, centralized storage system to house and grow its data library, significantly reducing the complexity of managing that data. Additional integration with near- and off-line tape storage, an extremely fast optical SAN, high redundancy and load balancing, and the Sun StorEdge 9960 system's 100 percent data-availability guarantee assure the greatest possible data integrity and provide the company with a highly secure and scalable storage solution.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Sun worked with us to qualify the 9960 against our scalability and availability criteria during a comprehensive test performed in their labs with the support of the senior engineering team. The delivery and implementation was accomplished in a day, which then allowed us to integrate it into our solution during the following week. The implementation of the 9960 was conducted flawlessly.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was thorough and complete. We are confident that we could have completed the project without Sun professional services given the documentation provided; however, we would have had to allocate more time in our schedule to accomplish this. Since we were on a very tight schedule, we opted to add Sun professional services to our team to assure success in the limited time frame.

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