Virtualization Technology News and Information
Major Aluminum Manufacturer Alcan-Singen Embraces Thin Provisioning and Virtualization with DataCore and VMware
Alcan Singen GmbH, a German manufacturer of aluminum products and by-products, has implemented a flexible virtual infrastructure that combines DataCore SAN virtualization and VMware. In order to gain better management control of its IT resources, Alcan Singen decided to consolidate two local storage networks into one company-wide SAN (Storage Area Network), providing centralized storage management and provisioning using DataCore’s SANsymphony solution. SANsymphony was selected because of its hardware independence, flexibility, high performance and high availability. 

The DataCore virtualization suite provides Alcan with thin provisioning, the ability to automate capacity management to applications. By using thin provisioning, Alcan gains higher utilization of all of its available data storage resources and also achieves better load balancing of capacity usage across the company-wide SAN that helped correct network bottlenecks.   

Alcan Singen Inc. is an aluminum processing company and the largest factory within the Alcan group, producing rolled and extruded products, automobile components and systems, as well as other by-products. In 2006, its 1,800 employees achieved an annual revenue turnover of 684 Million Euros. The integration of new business units and an increase in the number of new processing applications being added to the network, led to pressure on local performance and capacity bottlenecks in the two separate data centers. It therefore became obvious that the storage architecture needed to be re-structured by consolidating all data into one SAN that could be centrally managed and made highly available.  

The system integrator, Kumatronik, who had already implemented the VMware server virtualization solution within Alcan, recommended DataCore’s SANsymphony as the central management platform to manage and provision the SAN storage. "Alcan had already experienced the benefits of virtualization due its VMware installation and it therefore was a natural progression to add storage virtualization that allowed similar hardware independence for their data,” said Benjamin Nies, Key Account Manager, Kumatronik. "Storage and server virtualization go hand-in-hand and it makes sense to combine the advantages offered by both technologies."

Existing Hardware, New Flexibility and Functionality 

Alcan has installed SANsymphony on two standard servers in separate data centers.  These servers have become the Storage Domain Servers (SDS), which centrally control and redundantly protect the total data storage complex via six Fibre Channel switches. Through these storage servers, Alcan now has at its disposal advanced enterprise features and services like synchronous mirroring, snapshots, thin provisioning and auto failover. Moreover, these features and services are virtualized across the network.

The storage devices were adopted from the existing system and were easily integrated into the new SAN. With the better resource utilization, Alcan was able to eliminate the capacity shortage without additional investment in storage hardware. The application server now can access the total disk capacity in the larger, virtual storage pools without restrictions and has significantly higher performance – thanks to SANsymphony’s advanced cache performance technologies.\ 

"We are more than satisfied with the end result. We have created a complete virtual system environment within a very short period of time at minimum cost and operating expense, which offers us high availability and flexibility and lowers our administrative work," summarized Büche. "With a comparatively low amount of investment, we benefit from enterprise features that not only integrate and optimize existing resources but free us from vendor lock-in, saving expenses today and into the future.“

Sensible Growth Management 

With DataCore’s thin-provisioning technology, Alcan has significantly decreased the manual intervention and administration overhead that used to be required for storage management, helping relieve the load on the IT staff. 

"Alcan is a great example of a company that selects solutions based on total costs and sustainability before they make an IT investment," stated Christian Hagen, Director Central Europe, DataCore. "With the combination of server and storage virtualization, they were able to realize high availability and focus on automation to manage growth. They needed to make sure that their existing capacities were used more effectively and that they could easily provision storage where needed, as needed – on demand.”

Published Sunday, July 15, 2007 3:53 PM by David Marshall
Filed under:
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<July 2007>