BACKGROUND: Lycos has evolved with the Internet from a search engine to a portal to a new age comprehensive on-line service that can rival such on-line services as AOL. As a search engine, we catalog every page of the Internet using our automated spider technology. As a portal, we provide users with links to a wide range of sites. As a new age on-line service provider, we offer all the services, bells and whistles that users find at the established service providers. Today, Lycos' catalogs contain more than 55 million URLs. Our site, www.lycos.com, is visited by over 11 million users every day. We serve more than 100 million Internet requests for information each month, and we are experiencing an annual growth rate of 2000 percent. Users rely on us to steer them to exactly what they are looking for on the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

PLATFORMS: Multiple Digital Alpha servers of varying sizes, from desktop to Alpha 8400 enterprise servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our problem was/is keeping up with such tremendous growth. We needed to store huge amounts of data. We needed storage scalability and reliability. And, we needed the best price for this performance that we could get. We also had demanding needs for high availability and reliability.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: StorageWorks gives us the functionality we need. Its modular design gives us scalability. We can just plug in new disk drives. The modularity also reduces costs because we don't have to replace everything whenever we expand it. This allows us to protect our investment. In addition, it is easy to use. When we need to increase storage, we can simply add new storage drives to the storage racks we already have.

STRENGTHS: In addition to the modularity, scalability and ease of use, StorageWorks strengths are its price for performance and Compaq's continual improvement. The company is continually providing faster controllers and faster interfaces along with faster and larger disk drives. It is constantly doing research and development, looking ahead at the next storage technology, such as Fibre Channel. For a rapidly growing Internet company, this is very important. Our total storage needs already have hit 20 terabytes and are growing at 50 percent per quarter.

WEAKNESSES: As much as Compaq has speeded up its process for delivering enhancements, it still isn't fast enough. Since the Internet moves at the speed of light, I'm waiting for the next generation of faster, bigger disk drives.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We looked for speed, storage capacity and throughput. We also looked at scalability and the price for performance. We found competitors who had the speed and capacity but cost much more. We also wanted ease of use ­ something we could upgrade ourselves.

DELIVERABLES: We are using modular StorageWorks cabinets, SCSI-2 controllers, 4GB drives with RAID 5 parity. The RAID 5 is configured for round-the-clock operations using such high-availability features as clustering, auto restart, hot-swapping and redundant power supplies. We also use Compaq/Digital tape backup products. We are getting ready to implement StorageWorks' next-generation UltraSCSI technology. It is just a short hop from there to Fibre Channel.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Compaq/Digital support couldn't be better. I've been in this business for 25 years and dealt with all the major vendors and have never experienced better support. The service group stores spare parts here. The company has loaned us equipment during moves. Our computer systems product choices are based half on the technology and half on the relationship. The support we get is a big reason why we chose Compaq/Digital and why we stay with the company.

DOCUMENTATION: The products are very well documented. The company also operates a benchmark center that tests configurations in environments similar to ours and documents the results. In this way, we know what we are getting in terms of performance.

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