HBF upgrades fibre-channel network

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HBF upgrades fibre-channel network

To accommodate growing virtual environment.

Western Australian insurer HBF has upgraded and consolidated its fibre channel network, doubling the throughput of its storage area network (SAN) switch to 8 Gbps.

The project commenced in August, in what senior network engineer Colin Rutherford described as a bid to simplify IT management and “proactively” address growth.

HBF decommissioned five ageing Brocade Silkworm switches, which each provided either 2 Gbps or 4 Gbps capacity.

It installed two Brocade DCX4S chassis, delivering a consistent 8 Gbps capacity across its SAN connected server and desktop virtualisation environments and backup tape infrastructure.

HBF runs a server infrastructure environment that is about 70 percent virtualised. It deployed some 850 virtual desktops in a project submitted to the iTnews Benchmark Awards program last week.

“This was very much a proactive project,” Rutherford told iTnews, adding that the fibre channel network upgrade would help HBF scale into the future.

“Users wouldn’t pick up on [the upgrade] specifically, but it ultimately complements everything that uses it to connect to the SAN environment.

“As we continue to virtualise and continue to grow, we’ve removed any potential bandwidth barriers and simplified the management component 

“If we didn’t look to move off the [decommissioned] switches, we would have [hit capacity] at some point in the future. 

Rutherford said HBF tended to grow at a rate of about 40 virtual machines a year, with storage requirements ranging from 100 GB to a terabyte per virtual machine.

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