Centrelink examines ILM in new storage solution

Australia's social security and employment agency, Centrelink, is seeking a new storage area network (SAN) to accommodate its requirements for the next three to five years.The new SAN would, the agency said in a draft request for proposal document, replace the existing Centrelink EMC Symmetrix 8830 disk subsystems presently deployed across two data centres and form part of a wider Centrelink 'Open Systems Storage Environment' initiative.

Australia's social security and employment agency, Centrelink, is seeking a new storage area network (SAN) to accommodate its requirements for the next three to five years.

The new SAN would, the agency said in a draft request for proposal document, replace the existing Centrelink EMC Symmetrix 8830 disk subsystems presently deployed across two data centres and form part of a wider Centrelink 'Open Systems Storage Environment' initiative. The draft has been released to the industry for comment before a formal request for proposal is released to the market within the next six months.

Centrelink said it wanted the new SAN to encompass high-end enterprise disk sub-systems, while over the life of the contract it would introduce Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), including a second class of SAN disk subsystem storage to handle lower-value data such as e-mail, Web content and financial record archives, as well as system logs.

ILM is designed to align the value of data with the resources used to store it over time. As the value of information changes, the tier of storage in which it resides -- and the associated cost -- also shifts.

The concept is being heavily promoted by existing supplier EMC, as well as rivals such as StorageTek.

Centrelink said in reply to e-mailed questions it was examining "several types" and methods of implementing ILM. "Until this analysis is complete, Centrelink will not be in a position to determine its overall requirements".

The organisation said its "business needs are based on analysis of current and projected growth rates of open systems within Centrelink".

The anticipated solution would include two production disk subsystems with 30 Terabyte capacity and 24 fibre channel ports each. The first system would have 120 servers attached and the second 40. A 10 Terabyte test unit with 8 fibre channel ports would connect to 40 servers.

Centrelink said in the draft it was looking at a three year deal with options to extend the deal by one year periods not exceeding two years in total.

It also said there should be an additional 10 percent spare storage capacity available on demand, to be provided at no charge until Centrelink need to use it.

As part of the solution -- which includes provision of all required storage, connectivity, performance, capacity and service management tools -- the successful tenderer would be expected to second staff to Centrelink's Open systems Storage Management team to help with planning and strategic management of the storage environment.

Those staff would also be expected to document business continuity strategies for the storage environment, transfer knowledge to Centrelink staff and assist in migrating data from the existing solution to the new one.

Centrelink -- which operates one of the largest information technology infrastructures in Australia -- is presently in the midst of a five-year, AU$312 million IT Refresh program.

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