Case Study: Sony Storage Eases Manufacturer's Backup Load

Most of us with lives outside work hate having to punch the clock on weekends -- much less the middle of the night on weekends. So when the network analyst at Knowles Electronics found himself doing just that to handle a temperamental backup drive, he sought an alternative solution.
Posted October 10, 2001
By

David Needle


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Most of us with lives outside work hate having to punch the clock on weekends -- much less the middle of the night on weekends. So when the network analyst at Knowles Electronics found himself doing just that to handle a temperamental backup drive he was more than willing to seek out an alternative solution.

Getting a good night's sleep wasn't the only issue. "We're expanding worldwide and we need to be up and running on a 24-hour cycle," says Mike Swank, network analyst at Knowles Electronics Holdings, a worldwide manufacturer of hearing aid, automotive and other mini-electronic components.

The problem began for Knowles early this year when the company brought in new Sun Servers and an Oracle ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. The backup systems that came with the Sun equipment were fine initially, but after a few months Knowles was running Oracle more than they anticipated and the data needing to be backed up, including large engineering files, was four times what had been anticipated. The result was that the Sun 120 DLT (Digital Linear Tape) system (four DLT 700 drives) was taking as long as 36 hours to do backup and often locked up, requiring service in the wee hours of the morning.

With more than 20 NT servers, two network servers, 12 Sun Solaris servers and some two terabytes of data to back up every Friday, it's not surprising the process would take long. But Knowles hoped it could do better, and improve on the system's reliability.

With the help of Chicago-based system integrator, Acunet, Knowles installed a storage solution on steroids, the Sony PetaSite B80L. The system includes a fibre channel, DTF 2 (Digital Tape Format) drive that can handle up to 200 gigabytes natively and more than 600 gigabytes in compressed form on a single tape.

Swank says the Sony system shaved a whopping 75% off the 36-hour backup time (down to under 10 hours) and has been running fine since it was installed in August of this year. The old DLT drives transferred data at up to 4 MB/second versus the Sony B80L, which exceeds 16 MB/seconds.


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