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Life after migration

Two years after San Francisco's Asian Art Museum migrated to new iSeries servers, life is good for the museum's IT staff these days -- both for the present and the near future.

Every IT manager exploring the possibility of a migration is drawn to tales from his peers currently in the throws of a conversion. It's only natural for the potential data center migrant to look over his shoulder and wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side.

For those who have survived the complications of a conversion and are off and running on a new system, there's still one rather simple question that IT managers running legacy systems want to know: How's it going?

According to one organization that completed a major migration late in 2002, the answer is "just fine."

It made a lot of sense to consolidate the servers. We were able to save a lot of dollars in terms of disk space, and that was the driving force behind the consolidation.
James Horio
IT directorAsian Art Museum

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art, with nearly 15,000 works spanning 6,000 years of history -- and with an estimated worth of $4 billion.

Starting in the late '90s, the museum began to outgrow its physical setting. A move to a new home became a must, and any new building required a new IT system to support the museum's needs.

The citizens of San Francisco voted to refurbish the city's former main library as the museum's new home, and the project required installation of a new data and telecommunications infrastructure.

Museum IT director James Horio was forced to find new systems that could handle the load because the museum's Dell servers were outdated. Given that the organization was working off a budget that involved a combination of public bonds and private funding, it was crucial that the price tag was reasonable. Horio chose an i820 server housing eight Integrated xSeries blade servers linked to a smaller external xSeries server.

So far, the IBM servers have successfully supported the museum's multimedia, Internet Protocol telephony, and other specialized applications by combining the advantages of AS/400 and Windows, with a little Linux thrown in for good measure.

Horio and his staff started the project in October 2002, and the staff moved into the new facility two months later. The museum now runs 175 PCs and 12 multimedia stations on the front end.

"It made a lot of sense to consolidate the servers," Horio said. "We were able to save a lot of dollars in terms of disk space, and that was the driving force behind the consolidation. … The iSeries is real stable box, [and] because of the versatility of the iSeries, we were able to run Windows, Linux and basic AS/400 stuff."

For more information:

King for a day

Contemplating Consolidation?

According to Horio, life has been a lot easier with the new system in place. In fact, he can manage the entire system with just himself and one other employee.

"[We've had] lower maintenance costs and less downtime," Horio said. "We'll be able to add more disk drives and reduce maintenance costs."

But no migration can be considered a successful one if it doesn't give the internal IT staff the ability to move forward, and Horio said he feels confident that the museum's new system has provided that. The museum is testing a Web site that will display digital photographs of paintings, sculpture and other artistic creations that run on SuSE Linux and IBM's iSeries hardware. Horio is also planning to upgrade the i820 to a Power Chip i5, along with a new iSeries box, in the near future.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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