Nielsen Powers Reporting Systems With Sun

December 1, 2000

NEWS BRIEFS

Palo Alto, CALIF. — Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced that Nielsen Media Research, Inc., the leading provider of television audience measurement and related services in the U.S. and Canada, bases its vital client reporting systems on Sun Enterprise servers with more than 70 terabytes (TB) of Sun StorEdge arrays. The high-performance Sun solution has helped the company eliminate lengthening processing queues experienced by some customers. These queue times, occasionally up to 30 minutes, were a result of Nielsen Media Research’s rapid growth. The end-to-end Sun solution also reduced floorspace issues by offering seamless scalability within a small footprint.

“Like many companies, Nielsen Media Research has to constantly re-engineer their IT operations to accommodate the impact of the Internet on their business,” said Denise Shiffman, vice president of marketing for Sun Network Storage. “Sun StorEdge arrays deliver the uncompromising reliability, performance and scalability that Nielsen Media Research needs today while also providing an open, extensible, SAN-ready framework that will accommodate their future plans.

“With the Internet providing new media choices for viewers, it is essential for our clients to understand how and when people are spending their leisure time,” said Marty LeFebvre, vice president of Unix Operations for Nielsen Media Research. “As a result, we are reporting an increasing range of information to customers. Sun Enterprise servers and Sun StorEdge arrays provide a high-availability infrastructure with the performance, scalability and flexibility to support our compounding data storage and retrieval requirements. The end-to-end integrated solution fits into one footprint making it easier to manage diminishing floor space.”

Nielsen Media Research selected a Sun Enterprise 10000 server and Sun StorEdge A5100 RAID arrays to power its Galaxy Explorer decision support system. With redundant components, flexible architecture and fibre channel connectivity, the Sun StorEdge A5100 arrays allowed Nielsen Media Research to configure its backend environment for maximum availability and performance. The high bandwidth of the arrays combined with the processing power of the Sun server enabled Nielsen Media Research to improve delivery of information to customers, eliminating long queue times.

“There was a tremendous customer response when we implemented the Sun Enterprise 10000 server and Sun StorEdge A5100 arrays because it eliminated the 30-minute report turnaround times that some customers had been experiencing,” said LeFebvre. “The faster disk arrays, CPUs and backplane provided the performance boost we needed. The overall performance gain was phenomenal.”

Nielsen Media Research evaluated multiple storage vendors, including IBM and Clariion (then part of Data General), before deciding to implement Sun StorEdge arrays. In addition to the specific features of the Sun StorEdge A5100 and A5200 arrays, Nielsen Media Research scrutinized Sun’s future plans for storage products and SAN solutions.

“We determined that Sun had the best strategy for developing an ‘open’ SAN solution,” LeFebvre said. “Sun is building on its success with Java and putting together an open extensible framework for managing the SAN space with Jiro technology. Some of our other primary vendors are also leveraging Jiro technology and working very closely with Sun on developing SAN solutions.”

“We never really considered EMC,” LeFebvre said on evaluating storage vendors. “Our feeling is that EMC is losing ground in terms of technology, though their products remain comparable in price to the industry leaders. The real determining factor was how EMC operates as a company. We wanted to build a solution for the long term and needed a company with which we were comfortable.”

Sun Professional Services has been a valuable resource for the Nielsen Media Research Unix Operations team. Sun consultants conducted a data center assessment and worked with Nielsen Media Research to fine-tune its operations and implement best practices, which have since been incorporated into the company’s software development lifecycle and production readiness certification program. Sun Professional Services also helped lay the groundwork for the site by creating a Runbook, a necessary tool that facilitates the exchange of information between multiple administrators managing the individual host domains on the Sun Enterprise 10000 server.

Sun Network Storage was formed by Sun Microsystems in July 1998 and is a recognized multi-billion dollar industry leader in the UNIX and open systems storage market. Sun is changing the rules in network storage by delivering software and hardware written to an open network architecture. Sun’s commitment to standards enables timely availability of new technology, investment protection for existing technology, and a thriving partner community. The comprehensive Sun StorEdge family of products enables customers to match storage to the application while providing scalable capacity and performance in a “pay-as-you-grow” architecture. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://sun.com .

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