IBM's Shark Gives Spartan Stores High-Tech Data Protection

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Gr & Rapids, Mich - 26 Jan 2001: Premier regional grocery retailer and wholesale distributor, Spartan Stores Inc, has deployed a high tech solution to help protect its data assets by utilizing the advanced functionality of IBM's Enterprise Storage Server, code-named Shark.

Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Spartan owns and operates 118 supermarkets and drugstores throughout Michigan and Ohio. The company also serves more than 350 independent grocery stores and 9,600 convenience stores as a wholesale distributor.

At its Grand Rapids, Mich. data center, Spartan deploys a combination of IBM mainframe, UNIX and NT servers with two 1.26 terabyte Sharks to handle the business-critical applications and data management. With data growth almost
doubling each year, Spartan surveyed the field and chose IBM to deliver a storage networking solution that would help ensure its myriad of information systems would be protected and backed up in the event of an unplanned outage or natural disaster.

Spartan is one of several customers to take early delivery of IBM's Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy (PPRC) features on its Sharks, generally available since December 15.

PPRC is a hardware-based disaster recovery and workload migration solution that maintains a synchronous copy (always up-to-date with the primary copy) of data in a remote location. This backup copy of data can be used to
quickly recover from a failure in the primary system without losing any transactions--- an optional capability that can keep e-business applications running.

"We've had our sights set on PPRC for a while now and are very excited about its availability," said Paul Zimmer, Director of Data Center and Technical Services at Spartan Stores. "PPRC is one of the important reasons why we bought Shark. Shark along with PPRC will provide an affordable storage solution and will be a key component of our disaster recovery plans, for NT, UNIX and S/390 platforms. Once fully implemented we expect significant cost savings, but more importantly, far superior disaster recoverability than we've ever had in the past."

PPRC is designed for customers like Spartan, who need a recovery system to be current with the primary application system. The physical distance between its primary and backup data centers is about three miles. IBM's PPRC can be extended to over 60 miles, the longest distance offered in the industry.

IBM's Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy (PPRC) is designed to protect business data. As a disaster recovery solution, PPRC uses sophisticated techniques to copy application data to the storage at a designated "recovery site." Data is
shadowed as the application updates occur, designed to assure that business data is safely and constantly available at the remote site.

PPRC copies data to the recovery storage subsystem to keep it synchronous with the application volume. This is basically what happens: The application system writes data to a volume, and then transfers the updated data over ESCON fiber channels to the recovery site storage control. Only when the data is safely written to both sites does the application system receive assurance that the volume update is complete.

"Product leadership coupled with IBM's customer-focused open storage networking capability, customers like Spartan Stores now have a clear choice and a better option to meet demands of e-business transformation," said Walter Raizner, vice president of marketing for IBM's Storage Systems Group. "With the delivery of this suite of advanced functions, Shark is on par or superior to EMC or any competitor in the industry."

Since its introduction in late 1999, IBM has improved the performance and functionality of Shark by as much as 80 percent. Beginning in March of this year, IBM introduced enhancements including additional microprocessors, a
larger cache and faster 36 gigabyte, 10,000 rpm drives. IBM's rollout of enhanced functions began in July with the availability of FlashCopy and XRC (Extended Remote Copy) for the mainframe, as well as Fibre Channel connectivity for the RS/6000, NUMA-Q, Netfinity and all other brands of NT servers. In July, Compaq Computer Corp. also entered into an alliance with IBM to accelerate the adoption of open storage networks and to resell the Enterprise Storage Server. Native Fibre Channel connectivity between "Shark" and Sun, HP, Novell Netware and other platforms also is now
available, bringing enhanced interoperability to storage area networks.

The 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 the industry's leading servers and operating systems including Windows NT, UNIX, Novell NetWare, the entire eServer family -- and with a variety of interfaces, including Fibre 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.

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