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Corona-Norco District Overhauls Storage System To Consolidate Data

A 53,000-student district in Southern California has beefed up its storage systems with gear from Nexsan. The Corona-Norco Unified School District has deployed a newly released Nexsan E60 disk subsystem with 40 SAS and 20 SATA drives. The small footprint storage array has a maximum capacity of 120 TB and takes up a modest 4U of rack space. It has two fibre channel ports and two iSCSI ports per controller and supports one or two RAID controllers.

Two years ago the district switched from fibre channel storage to iSCSI from Nexsan. "We were never fully satisfied with fibre channel SANs because of the high costs and lack of flexibility, which is why we shifted to iSCSI," said Network Manager Brian Troudy. But, he added, "The real driving factors for us were the cost per terabyte, as well as the ability to achieve power savings on arrays and maximize disk capacity on a rack."

The latest upgrade allowed the school system to consolidate its VMware-based application data and enhance its data protection strategy. The district now uses the pricier SAS drives to perform primary storage for its Exchange, database, and other critical application data; it uses the less costly SATA drives for disk-based backup of data.

Nexsan also features AutoMAID, a proprietary function that allows the storage administrator to work through a Web browser to assign power savings to individual disks or groups of disks. For example, drives dedicated to backup can be powered down when backup isn't taking place to reduce energy usage.

"We begin to archive at midnight, and during the day most of the disks on the system are spun down," said Troudy. "We now use AutoMAID on the tiered E60 with AutoMAID active on the SATA drives to save considerable power."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.