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Linux beats NAS in 11 TB storage migration, part 2

The die was cast, and the IT team at Peoria, Ill.-based media company Dynamic Graphics Group had pledged its troth and money to a Linux cluster. Would Linux deliver the goods -- and the ROI? In part two of this migration story, Dynamic Graphics' IT director Todd Moore and Web developer Brian Kohles explain why this deployment is going to lead to a lot more Linux at their company. (In part one, they explained the hassles caused by their aging Unix and Windows systems and explained why they chose Linux to replace them.)

What's your advice to others who might be considering storage on Linux clusters?
Don't be afraid of it. Just make sure that you got somebody who knows what they're doing. We were very fortunate with Brian here. He's been playing with Linux for a long, long time. He convinced me to not be afraid of growing it out into an actual enterprise environment.

And the price is great. We saved a lot of money.

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What are your plans in the future with Linux?
We're definitely in bed with the penguin. The production database, as I said, has moved to Oracle 9i on Linux. We also run Linux on a beta standby Oracle 9i database for recovery purposes. We run Oracle 11i applications internally. I would like to get our 11i apps moved into a Linux environment for licensing and performance reasons, especially due to what we're seeing in Windows 2000 right now. We've been kicking around the idea of perhaps putting the Windows application servers into a PolyServe environment. How are the costs and ROI looking, now that you're in production?
Well, we saved in excess of a $100,000 over the next closest solution we evaluated. Our return on investment is almost two-fold for us. Once the new site is up and we're fully using the new storage platform, content loading will be more than cut in half because Brian's automating 99.9% of it, so content loading is going from a couple of days to a few hours. Also, we won't have as many hands touching all these different content-loading processes and having room for human error.

On the hardware side, we won't be spending money buying new disks or drives. With the new clustered system, if the node in our cluster becomes old, outdated or slower, we can pick up single-processor Intel boxes at a dime a dozen.

We're definitely in bed with the penguin.
Todd Moore
IT directorDynamic Graphics Group
We're definitely in bed with the penguin.
Todd Moore
IT directorDynamic Graphics Group
What's happening now that it's in production?
It's about half in production right now. We're working through our migration plan for getting all the content that's not duplicated -- and, actually, some of it that is duplicated -- out of the legacy Clariion and into the new SAN. Brian and his group are developing the new Web apps that sit out in front of the site and working on the new database for the new Web site. @928 What's happening now that it's in production?
We haven't had any problems with the PolyServe cluster since it's gone up. We have one node in the cluster serving 300,000 images to the legacy Web site right now, and we've had no problems. What happened during the deployment?
We had our design down pat. The equipment showed up, [and] we had everything ... powered up in a day with two or three of us working. Once the system was up, Brian spent a couple of days setting Linux and then a day, maybe, with PolyServe. As far as any surprises or gotchas, there was nothing that I can think of off the top of my head. Did you run into any surprises during the project planning stages?
We did. We started looking at the hardware that it was going to take to run our sites, and we actually ended up migrating our database to Oracle 9i on Linux as well. So, in addition to having the SAN and the content delivery on Linux, the database runs on Linux.

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