“VeriStor helped us reduce the time we spend on storage management and ensured that we have the flexibility to support continued data growth.” – DON NORTON, DIRECTOR, IT TECHNICAL SERVICES

Atlanta-based AMB Group, LLC is the parent company for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons. Yet, beyond managing the NFL team’s business processes including ticketing, retail sales, and an online store, AMB Group also manages operations, including IT services, for the Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Center, the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. In all, the company’s IT department manages more than 9 TB of business data for multiple AMB Group companies.

THE CHALLENGE: IMPLEMENTING A FLEXIBLE & CONSOLIDATED STORAGE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION TO SUIT DIVERSE BUSINESS NEEDS

With such an expansive and diverse portfolio of companies, the IT organization for AMB Group was facing tremendous data growth. Managing retail transactions, an online fan store, and patient records for its physical therapy business, AMB Group continued to find that it was trying to keep up with its mounting storage needs. With a small IT management team of three and a limited budget, AMB Group needed to seek alternative solutions to better manage its storage requirements, while optimizing its existing internal resources. AMB Group’s technical environment includes:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • 15 VMware Virtual Servers
  • Ignify eCommerce
  • Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 and 4.5
  • Blackberry Enterprise Server
  • Custom Physical Therapy Software
  • 9 TB of Raw Data
To consolidate its servers and optimize its storage management, AMB Group implemented a VMware virtual infrastructure with 15 virtual servers. As part of the server consolidation, it soon began evaluating its storage options. With rapidly growing volumes of data, AMB Group needed to find a flexible solution that was both easy to manage and cost efficient.

“Storage had become a key concern for us,” said Don Norton, director, IT technical services, AMB Group, LLC. “We found that we were continuing to spend money adding new direct attached storage arrays that were hard to manage and didn’t provide us with the storage flexibility we needed. We wanted to consolidate our servers and storage to simplify our management and improve our ability to more quickly adapt to changing business needs.”

THE SOLUTION: COMPELLENT STORAGE CENTER

AMB Group began to evaluate Fibre Channel-only storage solutions, but the options were very costly. However, iSCSI-only solutions didn’t offer the performance AMB Group needed for some of its most critical business applications, including its SQL Server database.

“After looking at high-cost Fibre Channel-only storage solutions, we discovered the Compellent Storage Center storage area network (SAN),” said Norton. “It offered a combination of iSCSI and Fibre Channel connections that gave us both affordability and flexibility. With the help of VeriStor, we built a solution that fit our virtual infrastructure perfectly.”

VeriStor storage and virtualization architecture experts helped AMB Group to configure a solution with the Compellent SAN that uses a mix of iSCSI and Fibre Channel to optimize performance and minimize costs. As a result, AMB Group is able to support its business-critical applications with high performance Fibre Channel connections, without upgrading its fabric across the board. AMB Group was also pleased by Compellent’s ease of use. Using its intuitive interface, any member of AMB Group’s IT staff can perform administrative and storage management processes in short, simple clicks.

“Management tasks using the Compellent solution have saved us a great deal of time every week,” said Norton. “Now we can do in minutes what used to take us hours.”

THE RESULTS: HIGH PERFORMANCE STORAGE WITH SIMPLIFIED MANAGEMENT

With its Compellent SAN from VeriStor in place, AMB Group is now well prepared for the company’s future growth. Since it has consolidated its storage and servers, Norton and his IT team find managing the datacenter for their multiple business operations much simpler and have confidence that future data growth will be easy to accommodate. In addition, the disk-based backup system is much faster than their previous tape backup solution.

  • Backup speeds up to 10 times faster than tape backup
  • Reduced storage management time
  • Complete compatibility with VMware virtual infrastructure
  • Increased flexibility to support dynamic growth
  • Rapid recovery using disk-based storage
  • Optimized resources through a mix of Fibre Channel and iSCSI
“The Compellent solution backs up all of our servers from a central storage unit with disk backup that is 10 times faster than our tape system,” said Norton. “And the performance is right in line with our organizational goals. With VeriStor’s expert help, we are confident that our most critical applications are available and fast for our end users.”