Meteor puts store in new contract with HP


3 Sep 2003

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Meteor Mobile Communications, Ireland’s third mobile phone operator, has awarded HP a €500,000 contract to implement an enterprise storage system at its data centre in Dublin’s Citywest business campus.

The three-year deal covers all hardware, software, services and consultancy. HP is supplying extra capacity to a storage area network (SAN) already in place. Meteor has taken delivery of an XP128 system that holds 2.5 terabytes of data and is scalable to 18 terabytes.

“The XP box is designed to have scalability in storage growth over the next three years,” explained Paul Marnane, enterprise marketing manager with HP. “Meteor will be able to keep costs down compared with what they would have been on older technology.”

The increased storage needs are a result of growing subscriber numbers and a number of new mobile services for customers, Meteor said. The company’s existing on-demand storage space had been nearing its acceptable limit. Paul Kirwan, Meteor’s IT infrastructure manager commented: “Our initial thoughts were to simply extend our SAN environment, however, after seeing what HP had to offer we decided upon a solution that exceeded our initial plan and gave us a higher return on investment.”

The SAN will also link to Meteor’s billing system, allowing improved access to customer data as well as real-time billing for subscribers. This latter option will allow Meteor to provide subscribers with data services from third-party content providers; due to the expanded range of services Meteor plans to offer, there is a need for greater storage capacity, Marnane added.

An additional feature of the new system is software called Business Copy, which allows multiple copies of data to reside on the same hardware. This will allow Meteor to test potential mobile phone applications using copied data, so that if the information is lost during the test, it is a relatively straightforward task to ‘roll back’ to the original copy of the data.

Hardware accounts for 70pc of the value of the contract between Meteor and HP, with the remainder comprised of software, services and consultancy. Recent data from IDC has shown that technology spending in Ireland is still heavily skewed towards hardware investment, but Marnane said that some customers are beginning to look at alternatives to buying new equipment when looking for improvements in their IT systems. “A lot of customers in Ireland are relatively new to SAN technology so they are investing in hardware first,” he pointed out. “Meteor can add additional components as required; the solution is designed with that in mind.” If Meteor so chose, it could implement a systems management features or disaster recovery capability to its storage system – the current infrastructure would allow the company to do this.

By Gordon Smith