Bimba and Hartford have benefited from new, virtual environments, and no benefit has been so striking as the storage efficiency. Thin provisioning using NetApp FlexVol and deduplication mean that Hartford is saving 50% on desktop images. By eliminating 16 to 18 physical servers with direct storage, Bimba estimates it has saved $70,000 in hardware and up to $16,000 annually in energy costs alone.

Bimba introduced the stainless steel body cylinder over 50 years ago and has a product line today that includes air cylinders, rotary actuators, linear thrusters, rodless cylinders, flow controls, and position-sensing cylinders. Bimba’s challenge was integrating networks after acquiring another company. Bimba faced the task of integrating new users, consolidating several e-mail platforms to Microsoft Exchange 2007, and finding a better way to manage storage space, all while maintaining an international e-commerce that requires around-the-clock availability. The company’s current setup was not up to the challenge.

“We can’t afford downtime of any kind,” said Matt Nantais, network manager at Bimba. “The existing infrastructure simply didn’t give us the scalability, capacity, redundancy, and manageability we needed for a failsafe, enterprise-wide Exchange deployment.”

Bimba partnered with Cyberklix for help with its platform migration and storage scalability needs. Bimba hired the Cyberklix team for their industry-wide recognition as virtualization experts, and XenServer and NetApp were a natural fit for the project. Cyberklix’s expert team helped design a virtualized infrastructure with a Citrix XenServer and NetApp storage. The XenServer platform includes the Citrix Storage Delivery Services Adapter for NetApp Data ONTAP, a jointly developed, certified solution that streamlines management and provisioning. Bimba now has a NetApp FAS3020 with eight blades running approximately 30 virtual servers. NetApp and Citrix technologies support all Bimba’s critical systems, from Citrix XenApp and XenCenter to Microsoft Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, and Oracle servers.

“Like many cities, Connecticut’s Capital City needed to cut costs while still improve services and support for both the city and the school system’s needs,” said Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez. “We continue to look for ways to go green, and NetApp helped us cut energy costs and consumption.”

“Partnerships like this are the most effective ways of achieving both our information and energy goals,” added chief information officer Eric Jackson.

“NetApp has features such as thin provisioning and disk deduplication that allow us to conserve as much storage space as possible,” said Jonathan Shevis, Metro Hartford Information Services Server Systems manager. “That allows me to put as much as I can in the space I have. Both in terms of our city’s green initiatives and in these times, stretching the dollar is of paramount importance.”

The City of Hartford has a longstanding relationship with the Ergonomic Group (EGI), a full service solutions provider, which is what led the city to move to NetApp virtualization to solve its storage needs. The Ergonomic Group suggested a VMware and NetApp environment for server and desktop virtualization, largely on the strength of deduplication and NetApp multiprotocol support. A large deciding factor in the City of Hartford‘s choice for choosing the Ergonomic Group was its ability to have the entire project executed by one engineer with skills in both NetApp and VMware implementations. With NetApp, Hartford can now store a single copy of a virtual server or desktop and replicate it as needed. Hartford now runs over 40 virtual servers and over 80 virtual desktops from one NetApp FAS3020.

While the NetApp system provided simplicity and storage efficiency to Hartford, there were additional benefits in speed and flexibility. After the system was installed, the city suddenly needed significantly more storage for its MUNIS financial application. The FAS3020, while already serving police, fire, education, and Web services, was provisioned to support over 3.5TB of new storage. MUNIS users reported performance improvements.

“Now we work from a single console to provision and administer both servers and storage,” said Nantais. “In the past, allocating storage to a user or application might have required changing out drives or migrating data. Now the process is fast and uncomplicated.”

“Regardless of if you’re in manufacturing or in the public sector, all organizations today face similar storage issues,” said Patrick Rogers, vice president of Solutions Marketing at NetApp. “Both Bimba Manufacturing and the City of Hartford are prime examples of how organizations can cut overall costs by storing more with less disk using NetApp virtualization and deduplication technologies.”

NetApp, Inc. is a US based provider of storage and data management solutions.