SLI wins redesign contract for massive Korean ISP network

Australian-based network consulting firm SLI Consulting has been brought in to redesign and benchmark stage two of what is being touted as the largest Win 2000 storage area network rollout in the world.

One of South Korea's largest ISPs, Thrunet, servicing over three million subscribers, was looking to deploy a new domain, Korea.com, with the initial installation comprising 120 clustered 8-way Compaq Presario servers with 31TB of multi-level RAID SAN storage to service five million potential subscribers.

Working with vendors Compaq, LG Hitachi, EMG and Korean distributor Matrix, SLI was called in to heavily redesign the storage, switching and server-farm components of the network, according to Jose Goldmann, senior IT&T consultant for SLI Consulting.

According to Goldmann, Korea Thrunet "wasn't so confident in the beginning" that the network would be able to stand up in the real-world environment. Having partnered with LG Hitachi in the past, SLI was invited to present its case, to which the Korea Thrunet officials were "quite impressed with our experience", claimed Goldmann.

In addition to managing the benchmark test of the $US25 million network, SLI realised significant savings for the ISP through its layout and infrastructure redesign. "It could be said that we nearly cut the investment in half," Goldmann said.

For example, SLI reportedly shaved $7 million, or 45 per cent, off the deployment of the server farm. And, according to Goldmann, the investment in SLI's consulting services from Korea Thrunet was "peanuts", compared to what the ISP saved as a result.

One of the key issues SLI faced was the 24-hour total crash retrieval requirement placed on the network by Thrunet, an issue Goldmann claims was "very challenging".

Set to go live in September, the network is the largest project SLI has been involved with to date, and is expected to grow to 520 servers with 200TB of SAN storage for 20 million subscribers, by the end of next year.

To SLI's credit, Goldmann claims the deployment is to be presented at the IBC Storage Networking Conference in Sydney on October 16.

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