USPS taps EMC for storage consolidation effort

The Postal Service has purchased $30 million of equipment, software and services from EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., as part of a new initiative to streamline its storage management.

'This is a deliberate effort to organize and build an integrated, life cycle management [architecture] for storage,' said Craig Woods, manager for technology support for the Postal Service. 'Before this contract was awarded, we were buying storage on an individual basis. We were not getting best-of-market prices without any real concept of how we would integrate and make it work.'

The award is part of a five-year, $60 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract that the Postal Service awarded to EMC, according to Woods.

The procurement is earmarked for USPS' new Enterprise Storage Platform Requirement, an initiative to streamline data management in the agency's two main data centers in Eagan, Minn., and San Mateo, Calif.

The two data facilities currently house about a petabyte of storage, Woods said. The Postal Service plans to set up a tiered strategy for managing its data, keeping frequently accessed data on speedy storage arrays while shuttling less frequently accessed items off to more lower-cost storage systems, such as virtual tape libraries, according to Woods.

The initiative will also tackle improvements in business continuity and disaster recovery. 'We wanted to be able to replicate key business information between our two centers. We don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket should something disastrous occur to either center,' Woods said.

For the contract, EMC's consulting arm will assess the present state of USPS' storage resources. The company will provide about 840T of raw storage, as well as its ControlCenter storage management software, to manage the Postal Service's existing EMC storage equipment. EMC will also provide its Symmetrix Remote Data Facility and TimeFinder remote replication applications.

The Postal Service plans to have basic enterprise storage capabilities in place by December, Woods added.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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