Ameren Corporation is managing its enterprise file data using Tapestry StorageX from Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. Ameren, a St. Louis-based firm, which serves 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in Missouri and Illinois, initially migrated its file data from the Novell NetWare platform to Windows Server 2003 and continues to use the StorageX to simplify file data management in its heterogeneous, distributed storage environment.
Ameren first used the Brocade solution to manage a Novell to Windows migration and server consolidation initiative. According to Craig Yale, infrastructure specialist III, Ameren, "We made the decision to migrate our five terabytes of file data from Novell to Windows because we already had an exchange server domain infrastructure, and it no longer made sense from a cost perspective to continue supporting both platforms."
Using Tapestry StorageX, Ameren consolidated 50 remote sites running Novell NetWare down to 37 remote sites running Windows Server 2003. "Tapestry StorageX was ideal for the job," recalled Yale. "We rapidly migrated five terabytes of file data from Novell to Windows without a drop of downtime, and our users continued to work during the migration process as if nothing at all had changed."
To facilitate the Novell to Windows migration and server consolidation initiative, Ameren implemented the StorageX Global Namespace, built on top of Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS), to virtualize its file namespace environment, which gave company IT administrators a single view of all file data across multiple locations. "As organizations manage their vast and growing amounts of file data in network storage environments, they require solutions that simplify and automate many of the tasks associated with managing their data," said Claude Lorenson, group product manager for storage at Microsoft.
Following the Novell to Windows migration project, Ameren continues to use Tapestry StorageX to manage remote site data backups to the central data center and to enable seamless user failover following server outages and failures. "Once we completed the initial Novell to Windows migration, we have continued to use the Tapestry StorageX Global Namespace and Tapestry StorageX replication policies to regularly backup remote site data at our central data center," noted Yale. "This has enabled Ameren to improve the reliability of our backups and eliminate backup servers and tape at the majority of our remote sites, creating even more cost savings, while improving data integrity."
Tapestry StorageX also enables Ameren to sustain an effective business continuity strategy. "Before implementing Tapestry StorageX, the time to recover a server in the event of an outage or disaster took us up to 40 hours," Yale recalled. "Now, by combining the Tapestry StorageX Global Namespace with Tapestry StorageX disaster recovery policies, we can seamlessly and reliably manage the failover process. Following an outage, users are instantaneously failed over to the backed up copy of the data and can continue accessing their data and remain productive."