With an average of 25 elevator shipments/week and more than 1,300 elevator jobs yearly, Minnesota Elevator manages its ever-increasing volumes of stored data with a fibre-channel storagearea network from Adaptec.
Minnesota Elevator Inc. (MEI) needed to scale its storage requirements because the company's direct-attached-storage (DAS)-based system couldn't handle the thousands of digital files stored for custom elevators manufactured at the plant. To solve the problem, MEI of Mankato, Minn., incorporated a fibre-channel storage-area network (SAN) from Adaptec. The system not only supports data-intensive file transfers but also the growing volume of data generated with each new project MEI gets.
From concept sketches to loading finished parts on trucks for delivery, MEI records every stage of the process and stores it electronically. Stored items include customer specifications, engineering notes, and AutoCAD drawings. The company also creates between 25 and 30 digital photos of each elevator so customers can see their orders as they are packaged for shipment.
"With an average of 25 elevator shipments/week and more than 1,300 elevator jobs yearly, our volume of stored data grew rapidly," says Mike Burns, director of MEI's information service group.
MEI's SAN has 28 Seagate drives in two Adaptec enclosures, a Brocade switch, 16 Compaq servers, and an Overland tape library. The Adaptec SAN provides real-time access to archived information from multiple users to multiple servers. Engineers quickly complete designs, and customer-service representatives respond to outside inquiries in less time. RAID 5 technology with a hot spare protects MEI's critical business data against drive failure. If a controller does fail, the system automatically reroutes traffic to its counterpart without interruption.
"The Adaptec system attracted MEI because we didn't have to acquire the maximum storage upfront. We can scale to meet growing demand," comments Ann McCann, IT account representative at Marco, a technology solutions company and business partner to MEI. In addition, Adaptec didn't require a large software package to manage the SAN.