Typically, servers are manually configured and booted by IT administrators going from rack to rack to load operating systems and applications.
After a server is configured with an operating system, applications and other data, Server Instant Replay lets an administrator copy the server's "gold image," or configuration, in six steps through the Storage Center management console. This allows customers to quickly recover failed servers or redeploy servers.
Server Instant Replay saves IT administrators a lot of time, according to Bob Fine, director of product marketing for Compellent.
"In the traditional model, bringing a server online, powering it and loading the OS images and application images and the patches can easily take an admin eight hours," Fine said. "By booting over the SAN with Server Instant Replay, an administrator can do that in 15 minutes or less."
Server Instant Replay also cuts costs that typically prohibit organizations from booting servers from a SAN because it doesn't require server disk drives, server-based software or third-party applications.
Citing internal case studies, Fine said customers using Server Instant Replay can save some $2,800 in hardware and administrative costs per server in the first year of operation, and save more than $166,000 on 25 servers over three years.
Reducing infrastructure management time and paring costs in administrative resources and infrastructure are two commonly stated goals of many organizations looking to rein in IT budgets.
Compellent hopes its Server Instant Replay utility and Storage Center system will appeal to new customers or even those tired of incumbent storage providers IBM (Quote), EMC (Quote), HP (Quote), Network Appliance (Quote) and Sun Microsystems (Quote).
Fine said those vendors don't offer capabilities that let IT administrators boot servers straight from SANs with a few mouse clicks.
"While most SAN vendors are focused purely on the storage, we're branching out and adding additional support to reduce some of the server management challenges," Fine said in an interview.