NetApp Powers BT Virtual Data Centre

NetApp announces it will provide the storage infrastructure to support BT's new Virtual Data Centre (VDC). BT is offering a multi-tenanted service aimed at mid-sized and larger businesses that are looking to move all or part of their IT resources onto a pay for use platform.

BT already hosts data and applications for a wide range of UK businesses. VDC aims to move customers from tailored hosting arrangements to a service where organisations can buy the exact capacity they require. BT has added the ability to configure an entire data centre from a single console with the ability to provision servers, storage and network resources with built-in resilience and business continuity.

A blade service architecture, combined with NetApp storage systems and virtualisation software, allows BT customers to have their infrastructure and Windows-based applications up and running on the VDC in just five days. Once the system is up, existing VDC customers will be able to deploy a virtual server in as little as 15 minutes.

Because the NetApp storage infrastructure takes care of so much of the basic storage management, from snap-shotting and off-site replication to de-duplication, the storage infrastructure is largely self managing, needing little in the way of day-to-day support. The core storage infrastructure for VDC is based around NetApp FAS6080c clusters.

BT chose NetApp hardware due the strong partnership the two companies have had for several years. BT already uses NetApp equipment extensively in its existing data centres.

The partnership with NetApp allows BT to provide the storage element of VDC in a highly cost effective way, which also provides the day-to-day storage management resources needed as part of the package. This will allow BT's engineers to focus their time and energy on revenue generating activities.

NetApp will provide FAS6080c clusters with iSCSI connectivity utilising Fibre Channel and SATA drives. A NetApp, software suite, including ONTAP 7.3, SnapMirror, Multistore, iSCSI, Snaprestore, Snap Vault and Protection Manager has been integrated with BT's own software technology to create a management portal BT's customers can use to design, configure and upgrade the system. The initial infrastructure is based around iSCSI and SATA drives, although Fibre Channel could be introduced to support higher performing applications.

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