Staying on Point

By Ron Miller  |  Posted 2005-08-22 Print this article Print

"I told Stephen and Optimus from the get-go that one of the qualifications of being a vendor for Lowndes County was that I needed [a] turnkey solution because I had [too small a staff] to do such a large job. It was important to us to be involved in the process. I could afford the manpower to manage the project and to manage it once it was in-house, but I did not have the manpower to implement," Kostyu said.

In addition to choosing the storage solution, Ayoub said, he chose the IBM TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager) to handle backup. Optimus added value to this solution by building its own custom front end to make it easier for Lowndes County to manage the backups.

"When installed properly, and thats the key, [IBM Tivoli] is very easy to manage, and it scales to the largest degree," Ayoub said. "We [designed] a custom GUI ... that sits on top of that that makes it easy to use and very scalable."

Click here to read an interview with Tivoli General Manager Al Zollar. An added benefit to the TSM solution was making it easy to transfer files over existing IP lines, saving a lot of money over using more expensive fiber lines, Kostyu said. "I had the [IP] bandwidth and security between the two sites (the main IT building and the off-site storage facility), and we were able to save $30,000 by doing it smarter."

An especially surprising benefit of working with Optimus, Kostyu said, was that the company allowed his staff to work in the Optimus computer lab in Atlanta before the system was installed. The result was that staff members had more confidence in their ability to work with the solution components, a major point, given the size and importance of this investment.

For Ayoub, the mix of vendors meant he had to not only manage a tricky installation but also deal with each vendor, which wanted to supply the total solution, he said.

"You play the political game pretty much the best you can," Ayoub said. When he spoke to the vendors, he explained they were getting one piece of the business, and they had to deal with that to get [any of] the business. "When I told EMC about this deal, I told them we were using IBM Tivoli for the backup solution and they could not push Legato [EMCs line of backup and recovery solutions], but, of course, they did," he said.

Kostyu said that, except for some problems with the HP tape system, the system has been flawless, and Optimus has continued to work with Lowndes County to solve the tape system issues. He said that working with Optimus has been one of his most positive vendor experiences, and he hopes to continue working with the company on other projects in the future.

To read more about alternatives to tape libraries, click here. "Optimus had knowledge of the big picture of the storage area network, not just a specific vendors picture; the ability to choose [the] best of that picture; and the knowledge to implement it. The knowledge, professionalism and the expertise with which they carried out their job is a cut above [the experience Ive had] with other vendors," Kostyu said.

Ron Miller is a freelance writer in Amherst, Mass. He can be reached at

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