San Diego, CALIF. — You’ve just gotten off the plane in Tokyo where you have a business meeting in less than an hour. After reviewing your presentation, you find that an important flow chart is missing. You fumble through your zip disks and floppies unsuccessfully until you resort to calling the office in a last minute attempt to have the document e-mailed. Everyone has left for the day.
Technology has put the power of information at our fingertips, but not without certain limitations. Information storage devices, such as laptops, floppies and zip disks can get lost or damaged in the shuffle of travel and have been known to disappear throughout the course of a hectic day. They also have intrinsic restrictions to the amount of information they can hold. Is there any guarantee that important documents will be available to us when we need them? Thanks to myspace, that guarantee is just a click away.
Myspace is an online information management company providing users with convenient, worldwide access to their files through the Internet. Businesses and consumers are offered a variety of features to safely store, organize, share and distribute their information online. Myspace seamlessly integrates the desktop and the Internet, creating a single point from which users can access their vital information and messages.
Recognizing that customers’ files are their most valuable property, myspace surmised that its success depended on secure and highly reliable access to scalable storage. To this end, the company sought an IT solution that would ensure high availability and reliability. There to provide a dependable solution was Hewlett-Packard Company.
“Storage is the key issue that underpins our entire business. With the massive consolidation of storage in the industry, our business must provide a highly scalable, cohesive storage infrastructure that can support the demanding needs of small to large businesses,” explained Ricky Aaron, myspace President and Chief Executive Officer.
Myspace allows business and consumer customers to manage and store their information online in a private, secure environment, overcoming the limitations of e-mail and backup inefficiencies while being able to transfer much larger files.
“In surveys, we found as many as 25% of our more than 3 million customers actually use our service in their business environment,” Aaron noted. “Myspace gives companies an immediate, cost-effective way to share, distribute and back-up information in a way that just wasn’t possible before. Of course, large organizations have been doing this for years – usually at a significant cost and overhead.”
As myspace began evaluating vendors that could supply enterprise-class storage, it concluded that it wanted more than a vendor – it wanted a partner – a company that would embrace myspace’s goals and work as a team to ensure the IT infrastructure was right for success.
Aaron reflected, “HP understood the kind of relationship we wanted and understood the needs of a start-up business. More importantly, HP acknowledged we had the potential to become a massive storage environment upon which many companies would depend.”
He continued, “It was ultimately our matching views that united myspace with HP in this great ‘meeting of the minds.’ There was alignment between our needs and what HP was willing to ‘step up to the plate’ with.”
In the early days, myspace had only two Intel-based servers with a modest disk array to support its customer base. However, when its current implementation is complete, it will have 16 servers, each with two to eight CPUs, together with the HP SureStore E Disk Arrays XP512 and XP256.
According to Aaron, in the second phase of its implementation, myspace will deploy five to six HP 9000 N4000 Enterprise Servers to manage its “massive file store.”
“The N4000 servers will be the back-end servers for our powerful UNIXÆ-based SQL database, as well as manage the file storage on the XPs.” Aaron explained. “This is a customer-oriented database that includes demographic information as well as customer behavior on our site.”
HP worked with myspace to design a robust, scalable storage solution that would be easy to maintain and highly available for its customers. HP kept in mind myspace’s requirements as a dot-com – rapid implementation and affordability. Based on HP’s design, myspace implemented the HP SureStore E Disk Array XP512 and XP256. Additionally, the company is deploying an HP SureStore E Tape Library 2/700 using Veritas Net Backup software to automate the tape backup.
“We anticipate using up the 50 TB of storage by the end of 2000, so we plan to deploy further HP XP level storage in the short term,” Aaron said. “Ultimately, we will utilize a combination of HP’s XP storage devices connected in a storage area network (SAN) with 200 TB of storage by the end of 2001”.
To safeguard high availability, myspace will deploy HP MC/ServiceGuard with the HP 9000 servers. Aaron noted, “The XP storage is highly redundant and through HP OpenView system management software we will be able to integrate the various storage tools, the NT tools and the XP software into a single Web-based management environment.”
Because myspace is in the process of completing the implementation of its HP solution, it is still early to analyze specific benefits.
Aaron readily pointed out, “In the context of HP’s storage roadmap, the ability to scale up our storage environment in a way that is manageable to meet our anticipated growth is absolutely key. It is evident in having the software tools to provide the control; in the reliability of the XPs as a fully redundant high availability solution; and finally in the cost of ownership – the combination of the density of data storage and the cost of those disks. Plus, by becoming a single vendor platform, we reduce the complexity of support because there is a single point of accountability.”
He concluded, “It has been refreshing to experience HP’s attitude towards dot-coms as part of the new HP ‘invent’ philosophy.” This entrepreneurial spirit cultivates a partnership approach that bridges across the entire company. For a start-up company like myspace, it is an enormous asset to start out with the credibility of the HP name behind us.”