Severstal Hammers Out Steel Day and Night—Uninterrupted

Any global business that runs around the clock needs dependable equipment and systems. As one of the world’s largest steelmakers, we’re on 24×7.

In the steel industry, margins are incredibly tight. So we invest in the latest manufacturing technologies to make our operations optimally efficient. As our equipment got more sophisticated and churned through more data, our old IBM and EqualLogic SANs started having performance and reliability problems.  We needed more dependable storage. It was either that, or stop growing. Our choices were that clear.

We looked at solutions from IBM, Dell, NetApp and HP, but in the end chose EMC VMAX 10K. Due to VMAX 10K’s 99.9999% (“six nines”) availability, we had a lot more confidence in EMC and VMAX to keep our business running.  And we haven’t been let down.

No downtime is huge for us. Pre-EMC, each hour of downtime cost upwards of $100, 000. We no longer have to worry about systems thrashing and going down. With steel rolling out day and night, we can’t be down even for system maintenance. VMAX 10K solves that by letting us do patches and upgrades on the fly.

Of course, sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control. We once had a citywide power outage that knocked out our data center. EMC swooped in and walked us through gracefully shutting down the systems and bringing them back up properly when power was restored. It was a comfort knowing we could depend on EMC’s expertise instead of fumbling around in the dark.

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The business is constantly adopting new manufacturing processes, which puts pressure on IT to handle growing volumes of data. But that’s not a worry for us. If we’re thrown a big workload, VMAX 10K handles it, no problem.

We’ve had great results with our Oracle databases, where query results improved from two minutes to just 30 seconds with VMAX 10K. Month-end financial reporting is also 30% faster. That’s critical, because our executives depend on those reports to decide where best to allocate resources for the next month.

VMAX 10K performed so well for our block storage requirements that when EMC introduced a VMAX 10K Block and File system, we couldn’t resist integrating all our storage onto a single platform. It’s going to make file management much easier, and we’re anticipating even better response times for users. VMAX 10K Block and File will run our file shares of spreadsheets, mechanical engineering drawings and general business documents. That was a lifesaver because we were able to move our file shares off an IBM system on its last legs, and onto a much more powerful and dependable platform. Users actually noted how crisp and snappy the file shares got after the migration.

VMAX 10K has given us the confidence to launch new services and grow without worrying about infrastructure.

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About the Author: Chris Stahlbaum