Scale increases the challenge

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2005-01-10 Print this article Print

Sounds simple enough, but considering the extent of the companys operations, its anything but. Interstate Hotels & Resorts oversees the marketing, sales, accounting, finances and payrolls of 350 hotels and resorts across the United States, as well as areas in Canada, Portugal, and Russia. The company manages the internal operations of properties owned by third-party flagship hotel brands, such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Sheraton Four Points, Weston, Intercontinental, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, to name just a few. The "flag" employees actually work for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, stretching its employee base to 33,000.

"Because we run all these properties, we interface with [the] flags to maintain daily information for accounting and payroll systems. They are all individual but consolidated onto one single Microsoft platform. So they are different systems, but the storage resides over here," said Castellino.

A major priority for Interstate Hotels & Resorts was wresting back control of e-mail storage operations. Thats where NetApp, of Sunnyvale, Calif., came in. It enabled the hotel management company to run NetApp SnapManager for Exchange and Single Mailbox Recovery.

The data management offering bolsters storage management while simplifying configuration, backup and restore functionality for Exchange platforms. SnapManager features rapid restores, near-instantaneous hot backups and policy-based data retention management.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts also chose to deploy NetApps FAS940 midrange product to run Exchange storage, the FAS250 as its Web platform and the entry-level FAS270 appliance.

Castellino said the FAS270 is not yet in production. The one-shelf-of-disk-storage box is being used to store ERP (enterprise resource planning) information from the Dallas data center and is the final component of the single data center migration.

Castellino said the consolidations storage efforts taught him a few lessons about the complexity of scattered data across an enterprise.

"Its amazing how much you dont know that resides in all these disparate data sites and data centers. Just the fact of having it all together and getting the access was huge for us. Slowly but surely, that became the most important part, and then backing it up," Castellino said.

Rod Mathews, NetApps senior director, said numerous customers biggest challenge when facing consolidation is performing a minute inventory of all applications and employing the correct configurations under the covers.

"You want to see someone go home on a Friday and come to work on a Monday and dont know that anything has changed," said Mathews. "Its changing the foundation of the house while youre still living in the house. In order to do that, you need a plan on how youre going to execute that, and thats where IBM Global Services comes in."

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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