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CDOT controls IT traffic: SRM technology keeps clutter off storage area network. (Service Providers/Services).

To fund the construction of roads in 1895, the new Connecticut High-way Commission distributed its $75,000 budget to towns on a matching basis.

Today, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT), based in Newington, CT, oversees transportation programs and projects involving not only highways but rail service, bus systems, airports, ferries, highway safety, state pier operations, ridesharing and other mobility efforts. The commission has grown into a state department with 4,000 employees and an annual operating budget of nearly $1 billion.

CDOT has to make sure its computer network resources can deliver around-the-clock information, such as highway conditions, to media outlets and the general public. Running out of storage space could grind the network to a halt, putting drivers in the dark about road conditions. For the past year, storage resource management (SRM), a subset of storage management, has provided the IT department with the technology to keep its storage area network and other servers lean, clean and readily available, with no slumps in performance. The specific realtime SRM features include allocating and monitoring storage space, reporting on how allocated space is being used, and blocking pesky file types, such as MP3s, from being stored.

The network consists of three Windows NT Dell PowerEdge 6300 servers. Each connects via Fibre Channel to a Dell PowerVault storage area network (SAN) configuration. Together, the SANs provide storage for 1,500 employees, while an older Dell server supports another 300. Each SAN provides a CDOT working repository to protect employee's documents, storage for all public information databases and computer-aided design files, and archival for historical documents.

Before the SANs, Joseph Garofalo, technical specialist in CDOT's IT department, says, "We had servers full of employees' files that didn't pertain to the department."

Before files could get moved to the SANs, the IT department had two major tasks: dean clutter from the servers, and put in procedures to control space, thereby, cutting the time needed to manage it. Garofalo says, "StorageCentral SRM from W. Quinn Associates, ( provided all of the features for carrying out these tasks."

Several of these SRMs swept the servers and pinpointed more gigabytes of wasted space than Garofalo thought he had. He immediately deleted what did not belong on the servers. Next, he studied the storage usage patterns by using the solution to monitor space allocation on each employee's directory and each department's directories. This soft monitoring enabled the employees to get used to receiving alerts and, at the same time, allowed the IT department to experiment with the different alerting methods, such as e-mail and on-screen popup, and the different types of messages that could be sent.

With the soft monitoring, the IT department was able to curb unexpected file growth by blocking file types, such as .mp3 and .avi, from being stored on the SANs. If an employee tries to download a blocked file type, he gets a message saying that the CDOT does not allow that type of file to be stored on the server.

Once employees reach their quota limit, they receive an on-screen, pop-up alert. Each alert contains a specific message telling the employee how much allocation he has left, how much space he needs to free up, and what he needs to do if he requires more space or has a problem.

When an employee reaches his limit, the solution automatically sends a report to the supervisor about the employee's space consumption. Since the HTML reports have hyperlinks to files, the IT department, as well as a supervisor, can click on a file link and view the file, delete it or move it onto a CD.

The solution also has helped the IT department maintain performance on the SAN, so employees do not experience any delays accessing their files. Overall, the solution eliminated the need for systems administrators to spend one to two hours daily on housekeeping tasks, helped the agency plan disk purchases and kept the storage capacity within an acceptable limit for top performance.

Circle 257 for more information from W. Quinn Associates
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Comment:CDOT controls IT traffic: SRM technology keeps clutter off storage area network. (Service Providers/Services).
Author:Ferrarini, Elizabeth M.
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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