IBM’s Shark Speeds Online Service for City of Boston

January 12, 2001

NEWS BRIEFS

Boston, MA — When the City of Boston decided to build out its information infrastructure, it chose an IBM Shark Enterprise Storage Server to deliver faster access of online services to its 21,000 city employees.

The City of Boston had already begun its own workplace transformation to a computer-based information delivery network system. As part of this transformation, the City also wanted its payroll and human resources services administered more efficiently and easily to all its employees in offices scattered throughout the city. To meet this need, the City Of Boston chose to deploy the Peoplesoft Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System.

As the system went into full production, the City recognized the need to address the expanding storage demands and deliver a solution that would improve overall response times. To meet this demand, the City of Boston decided to replace its existing disk subsystems, a combination of an EMC 5500 Symmetric system and IBM RAMAC disk.

“Our disk storage capacity was maxed out. We needed to resolve response problems caused by slow disks. The City of Boston needed a storage solution that offered the best technology for today, not just a promise for something better in the future,” said Jack Malinsky, director of Operational Technology, City of Boston, in describing why the City selected IBM over EMC to manage the data intensive applications.

“In looking at a solution to these problems both EMC and IBM were seriously considered. The performance benefits of the Shark sold us — especially the Parallel Access Volume (PAV) and Multiple Allegiance (MA) features. We have seen elapsed times reduced by up to 50% in the processing of Peoplesoft batch work. In review of the RMF data we have also seen Peoplesoft online response times improved by up to 25-40%. People have actually noticed a difference because it works so fast and so well. Our goal was to improve run times on all aspects of our daily workloads. The Shark system has enabled the city to meet these goals. The raw power and speed of Shark was beyond our expectations.”

The PAV and MA features are unique to IBM’s Shark Enterprise Storage Server and are the result of a long history of solving complex computing issues. PAV and MA functions allow multiple mainframe servers to access the same disk server at the same time. As a result, bottlenecks can be eliminated from online users requesting data while requests for the backup or batch processing of records are being handled.

Before Shark, mainframe computing was limited to accessing only one I/O operation per logical volume at a time. Now, performance is improved by enabling multiple I/Os from any operating system to access the same volume at the same time. Multiple Allegiance enables different operating systems to perform multiple, concurrent I/Os to the same logical volume-reducing queuing and significantly increasing performance. By enabling the Enterprise Storage Server to process more I/Os in parallel, MA and PAV can dramatically improve performance and enable more effective use of larger volumes. The result is simplified storage management at a reduced cost.

“The migration of data to the Shark was effortless and went off without a problem” said Malinsky. “In less than a week our systems people and IBM had production files cut over to the Shark. The migration was as easy as IBM claimed. Because of its scalability there are a lot of potential applications that we can add on to the Shark. We’re very excited about the possibilities.”

The City also decided to upgrade its tape storage capacity with an IBM Magstar tape library.

“With this increased storage and the need to back up the data quickly and reliably, we chose Magstar,” said Malinsky. “The high speed and high density of the Magstar solution made this an easy choice.”

About Shark

The Shark Enterprise Storage Server is the high performance disk storage solution from IBM, the world leader in storage systems, software, services and technology. Built on the foundation of IBM’s Seascape Storage Enterprise Architecture, Shark works with Windows NT, UNIX, Novell NetWare, the entire IBM eServer family — and with a variety of interfaces, including Fiber Channel, Ultra SCSI and ESCON. Shark incorporates IBM unique technology such as Parallel Access Volumes (PAV) currently unavailable in competing systems from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.

For more information on the Enterprise Storage Server and its performance advantages over competing products, visit http://www.ibm.com/storage .

For more information about the City of Boston, visit http://www.ci.boston.ma.us .

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