Brewing Up A New Tape Management Solution For Anheuser-Busch

In the course of its data backup process, Anheuser-Busch in Columbus, OH, was facing two problems with its existing tape management system: backup reliability and retrieval of backup tapes. Backup problems were not detected for several days because tape systems were scattered throughout the site. Because the tape drives were installed in the servers, a total failure of a drive meant taking the server down to replace the drive. Also, with the tape systems located throughout the brewery, the task fell on one person's shoulders to spend a considerable amount of time changing tapes on both a daily and a weekly basis. This meant sending an individual throughout the brewery to remote locations to replace tapes.

Anheuser-Busch needed a solution that would help manage its overall backup process, and one the brewery could easily integrate into its existing configuration, which includes Compaq PROLIANT 6500. PROLIANT 5000 and PROLIANT 40000 servers and Compaq 10/20 GB, 15/30 GB and 35/70 GB tape drives. A labor savings strategy was needed to centralize the brewery's backups in one location instead of sending someone out to retrieve tapes from various locations around the site.

In searching for a solution, one alternative was to upgrade the backup software in all the servers. The cost would be $800 per server to upgrade. The brewery has 11 servers that would need to be upgraded at this cost. With this approach, the brewery would also have added traffic on its network. The network infrastructure would have to be upgraded to accommodate the added load of the backup software at a cost of $75,000 if this plan were implemented.

APCON's LAZER LINK III was chosen as a cost-effective alternative that would meet Anheuser-Busch's need. APCON Model ACI-2003 LAZER LINK IIIs were implemented in the Anheuser-Busch backup configuration, allowing the brewery to centralize its backup devices and servers with a distance of 6,000 feet (2 Km).

With the LAZER LINK IIIs in place centralizing the tape backup activities at the brewery, there is a peace of mind knowing that backups are now being handled reliably. Also, because the LAZER LINK IIIs are supplied with active termination, defective tapes can be hot swapped without performing a system reboot.