The cement industry is a major driver of Pakistan’s economy. Large governmental projects fuel the demand for construction materials and are a growth factor for producers such as DGKCC. The company’s two cement plants have operated near full capacity for the past two years. A third plant near Hub, west of Karachi that will have an annual production rate of up to 2.5 million tons of cement, is under way.
“It’s a fairly simple equation: More production capacity leads to more data,” says Muhammad Aslam, CIO at DGKCC. He says, “Because we have to keep pace with the business needs, we have to deliver an infrastructure that can cope with data growth easily and support mission-critical applications.” DGKCC had already seen storage needs grow by up to 20% each year. With a third plant and more IT users on the horizon, the team had to rethink its storage requirements and defined seamless scalability, efficient operations, and lower costs as the guiding principles.
The team evaluated the market for enterprise storage and eventually selected NetApp. “NetApp offered the best scalability and economics. It is very easy to address data growth by seamlessly upgrading the storage system instead of buying additional systems,” says Aslam.
“Furthermore, we found the NetApp unified architecture very appealing,” he states. “We can consolidate all application data and virtual machines on a single system. This helps to simplify data management and saves power and rack space.”
NetApp partner Synergy Computers provided DGKCC with all the necessary details about NetApp storage technology. As a valuable service provider for Aslam’s team, Synergy Computers managed the storage implementation and data migration smoothly.
Today, DGKCC deploys two NetApp FAS2552 systems under the NetApp Data ONTAP® 8 operating system. The infrastructure spans the main data center at the head office and a second one at the disaster recovery site (DR site) over a distance of 75 kilometers. NetApp SnapMirror® software replicates data from the production system to the secondary system at the DR site. Replication is incremental so that only changed data blocks are transferred. Compression accelerates the process by reducing the amount of data. The whole storage environment is managed through NetApp OnCommand® System Manager.
DGKCC uses Microsoft business applications for collaboration and file services. All processes related to production, resource planning, finance, human resources, and business intelligence are based on the Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and Oracle BI applications running on Linux. Servers to control and manage the IT environment are set up as virtual machines. Their virtual disks are located on data stores and mount directly from the NetApp storage.
To optimize the performance, DGKCC leverages NetApp flash technology. With the Data ONTAP functionality of NetApp Flash Pool™ intelligent caching, it is possible to handle solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives as one aggregate. For top read and write performance, hot data is automatically cached on SSD— without setting policies or moving a single bit of data.
of disk capacity saved with storage efficiency
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