For many companies, the energy required to build and maintain a business intelligence system is more than they’re ready to handle themselves. That’s when they call digiMine, a Bellevue, Washington-provider of affordable managed business intelligence services.
For each customer, digiMine builds and maintains a secure, private data warehouse and applies data mining and analytics to reveal meaningful patterns and insight. Each day, digiMine customers receive updated reports with actionable business intelligence to measure and interpret customer behavior, Web site performance, content and product consumption, browse to buy conversion, and marketing campaign effectiveness.
STRONG STORAGE INFRASTRUCTURE
digiMine customers generate massive amounts of transaction, clickstream, product, and user data. It was thus imperative for digiMine to have an intelligent storage solution that was fast, flexible, and scalable. The company set out to build an infrastructure that could easily be move, store, and process these large amounts of customer data.
To do this, the company decided to deploy a solution that combined Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) technology. This industry best-practice approach uses a switched fabric SAN running on EMC. DigiMine chose EMC because of its reputation and because of the IT staff’s past experiences with EMC storage.
Since digiMine’s storage capacity needs are directly related to the number of customers the company has, its storage solution had to be able to scale rapidly. Since implementing the solution, digiMine has seen a strong improvement in the scalability and availability of its storage solution. Explains Mike Pattersion, Director of Data Center Operations, “Disk arrays would have severely limited our ability to grow with our customer base. Our NAS solution also lets us FTP directly to the main file storage system, saving the cost of purchasing separate FTP servers and reducing overall network traffic.”
The system is connected via an EMC Cellerra server. DigiMine’s system has 2.5 terabytes of EMC Symmetrix 3830 (raw capacity) and 2.9 terabytes of EMC CLARiiON (raw capacity) connected through a SAN via Brocade switches.
BEST OF BOH WORLDS
The biggest challenge for digiMine were in determining how to receive, move, process, store, and back up hundreds of gigabytes of customer data each day. This is what led digiMine to using a combined SAN and NAS architecture. Data can be received directly in the NAS, moved among volumes, processed, presented to the customer, ad backed up without ever leaving the SAN.
The system was initially designed to handle the size and performance necessary for approximately one year’s worth of customers. However, digiMine’s data storage needs have already surpassed those originally anticipated. The open system design has allowed the company to add more storage to both the SAN and NAS without incurring any system downtime.
KEEPING UP WITH THE BUSINESS
So far, the system has easily kept up with the company’s increasing processing and storage demands. “As you can imagine,” adds Pattersion, “our process is very disk-intensive.”
Moving forward, the company plans to implement intelligent file and database management creating a virtual storage environment where al storage, SAN, NAS, and tape systems act as a single storage point to the user.
So far, digiMine has already recognized an improvement in its ability to move large data sets and databases quickly. The company also benefits from its ability to scale rapidly without developing or replacing existing hardware with new hardware.
Although digiMine has yet to perform an ROI analysis, Pattersion says, “It’s clear that we simply would not be able to handle the amount of business today if we didn’t make to decision to go with our current storage architecture.” Adds Steven Higgins, Global Marketing Manager, Strategic Applications a EMC, “Our products allow digiMine to scale as they grow, which is clearly keyed to their business model.”
Meanwhile, digiMine has been able to pass on significant cost saving to its customers. DigiMine can drive its business more efficiently without needing to purchase its own hardware or add additional staff.