Tech-Savvy Boston College Reels In IBM 'Shark' For Smooth Data Sailing

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BOSTON - 17 Apr 2000: -- Access to information has become almost as important as the information itself, a fact not lost on Boston College, where e-business technology is at the forefront of transforming services for its students, faculty and alumni. The tech-savvy college's objectives of providing a centralized computing environment with critical Web and e-mail services have been answered with a data management storage solution from IBM.

With 15,000 students and over 1.75 million volumes in its library, Boston College turned to IBM's 'Shark' Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) to provide uninterrupted service and enhanced access to an online communications system. IBM's 1.2 terabyte storage solution will support the library database, store the majority of the university's data, and provide quick access to student, faculty and alumni services.

Supplying technology services to its students with an online campus information system -- InfoEagle -- Boston College has enabled students to tap into the latest university news, course registration and schedules, online access to publishing, cataloging and inter-library loan information, as well as its student directory. Other established student services include the ability to view course grades at end of each semester, conduct course audits, change majors, and even add money to meal cards over the Web. Boston College also has opened an i-cafe in campus dining halls that offers Internet access, e-mail, cable television, voice mail and phone services using IBM Network Station thin clients. Its Agora Services also allows students to complete secure e-commerce transactions that require authentication.

"Boston College is not afraid of new technology," said Nancy Hintlian, Boston College's executive director, IT Communication Services. "We looked for the best fit for Boston College. We identified the alternatives based on size, performance metrics, vendor reputation, and looked for solutions to complement our existing disk virtual array technology in our strategy. IBM met all of the above criteria and was very quick to respond to our needs. Now we can manage storage from a console instead of involving five people and provide around the clock service with no more than a 4-second delay in service."

Storage is used to support library functions such as online database access, cataloging and circulation as well as online storage of reference information and electronic searches. BC's library database includes 39 million bibliographic research records from the Library of Congress and other national libraries, in addition to 27,000 other regional libraries.

"Boston College has been at the cutting edge of integrating technology into the student learning experience and virtually every aspect of college life," said Linda Sanford, general manager of IBM's Storage Subsystems Division. "Operating a university as an e-business empowers students. It also is arming our future leaders to compete and succeed in the global economy."

BC is among the first universities to order IBM's new high performance storage product.

"The objective was to cut the time spent on managing storage, double the effective utilization of disk, reduce costs associated with power consumption and purchase a large disk storage device that can store terabytes of data," explained Nancy Hintlian. "We also needed to reduce back-up from minutes to seconds with a large, more flexible storage solution that enables Boston College to poll and share disk resources. BC's next step will be to evaluate the Shark ESS as a storage resource for database applications."

Shark is the groundbreaking 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, the Shark ESS works with heterogeneous hosts and operating systems -- Windows NT, UNIX, Novell NetWare, S/390 and AS/400 -- and with a variety of interfaces, including Fibre Channel, Ultra SCSI and ESCON. Shark incorporates such unique technology as Parallel Access Volumes (PAV) and Multiple Allegiance.

For more information on the Enterprise Storage Server and its performance advantages over competing products, visit

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1 Seascape is IBM's storage enterprise architecture, a blueprint for comprehensive storage solutions optimized for a connected world. The Seascape architecture outlines next-generation concepts for storage by integrating modular "building block" technologies from IBM, including disk, tape and optical storage media, powerful processors, and rich software. Integrated Seascape solutions are highly reliable, scalable and versatile, and support specialized applications on servers ranging from PCs to supercomputers.

2 IBM's 'unique technology' such as Parallel Access Volumes (PAV) and Multiple Allegiance, are currently unavailable in competing systems from EMC, Hitachi Data and Compaq.

3 IBM and Enterprise Storage Server are registered trademarks of the International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks are the properties of their respective companies.

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