Alcan Manufacturing Adopts Thin Provisioning And Virtualisation With Datacore And Vmware
Major Aluminium Manufacturer, Alcan-Singen, embraces thin provisioning and virtualisation with DataCore and VMware
Alcan Singen GmbH, a German manufacturer of aluminium products and by-products, has implemented a flexible virtual infrastructure that combines DataCore SAN virtualisation 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 virtualisation suite provides Alcan with thin provisioning, (the ability to automate capacity management to applications). By using thin provisioning, Alcan gains higher utilisation of all of its available data storage resources and also achieves better load balancing of capacity usage across the company-wide SAN that helps to correct network bottlenecks.
Alcan Singen Inc. is an aluminium 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 which could be centrally managed and made highly available.
The system integrator, Kumatronik, who had already implemented the VMware server virtualisation 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 virtualisation due its VMware installation and it therefore was a natural progression to add storage virtualisation that allowed similar hardware independence for their data,“ said Benjamin Nies, Key Account Manager, Kumatronik. “Storage and server virtualisation 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 virtualised across the network.
The storage devices were adopted from the existing system and were easily integrated into the new SAN. With the better resource utilisation, 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 Dieter Büche, System Administrator at Alcan. “With a comparatively low 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 burden on 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 virtualisation, they were able to realise 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 and on demand.“
About Alcan Singen GmbH
Alcan Singen, Inc. is an aluminium processing company, which forms the biggest plant within the Alcan group. The production area comprises rolled and extruded products, automobile components and systems, as well as composites. In 2006, 1.800 employees achieved an annual turnover of 684 Million Euros. The aluminium and composite products from Singen/Htwl. have an excellent reputation worldwide. In the markets of engineering, traffic and automobile engineering, in electronics and in the construction sector, Alcan Singen with its unique solutions, stands in the forefront of distribution.
As one of the leading system house groups in Southern Germany, KUMAtronik offers integrated one-stop IT overall solutions for medium-sized businesses and enterprises from industry, trade and services as well as public customers. KUMAtronik makes the conceptual design and realizes individual hardware, software, groupware and network projects. With an experienced and competent team of IT specialists KUMAtronik offers a broad diversity of business activities in the fields of consulting, installation, servicing, telephone support and instruction as well.
About DataCore Software
DataCore Software, the leading provider of storage virtualisation software, fundamentally changes the economics of managing storage with innovative software that combines advanced functions and services with the agility and savings of hardware independence. DataCore’s disk server software easily adds capacity expansion and centralized storage management for Windows, UNIX, Linux, VMware, MacOS, and NetWare systems. DataCore is privately held and its corporate headquarters are in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
DataCore, the DataCore logo, SANsymphony, and SANmelody, are trademarks or registered trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. Other DataCore product or service names or logos referenced herein are trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. All other products, services and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.