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By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2004-10-11 Print this article Print

Pacific Sunwear held a "bake-off," bringing in a host of vendors to install their backup offerings on the retailers IT system to gauge product training and support for a month before deinstallation.

The winning software was IBMs Tivoli Storage Manager, which was demonstrated and provided by an IBM Premiere Business Partner, CCS Technology Solutions Inc. The policy-based disk product backs up data from a server to a few terabytes of storage attached to TSM by talking to clients on each server.

The created storage pool handles all server backups and reduces 50 separate backups into one master schedule. TSM technology enables Pacific Sunwear to perform change backup and image backup on a scheduled basis at night while taking care of disk-to-tape migration during the day without affecting service availability because a copy of the data resides in TSM.

Prior to the TSM solution, PacSun had to complete its tape backups each night and ship them off-site first thing in the morning, meaning that the latest version of its data would be unavailable for restore unless physically retrieved.

Now the retailer can perform disk-to-tape migration at its leisure the next day by copying data from the disk pool on TSM to tape without affecting online servers.

"With our intermediary disk solution, if we need to restore a single file of something, we have it available on disk so thats our first instance of restore. We dont have to wait for tapes to be called back anymore; tapes really are for disaster recovery now," Ehlers said.

Ehlers declined to give specific cost-saving numbers, but he said reducing backup schedules from 50 to one master schedule frees up his employees to do other tasks and not have to handle, load or change tapes for 50 servers each night.

CCS helped Pacific Sunwear with testing, installing, configuring and evaluating TSM for its production environment. In addition, the Irvine, Calif.-based solutions provider helped the retailer deploy IBM storage components including eServer xSeries, ServeRAID Ultra SCSI Controller and IBM TotalStorage Expandable Storage Plus.

Currently, CCS is overseeing Pacific Sunwears server consolidation, for which it is adopting the IBM BladeCenter. It is also considering EMC Corp.s VMWare software virtualization tool to run multiple applications on a single server.

Ehlers said working closely with a solutions-based business partner can reap immediate dividends, especially in sidestepping costly errors.

Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

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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