Case Study 1: Carlson Companies
CIS 505: Communication Technologies
Case Study 1: Carlson Companies
Carlson Companies is a privately held company that operates in more than 140 countries across the world making it one of the largest companies in the United States. The Company, which has more than 180,000 employees, runs different enterprises in different industries including in the hospitality, business and leisure, and marketing industries. The company according to its website is a global, vibrant, family-owned hospitality and travel organization with ambitious objectives (Carlson, 2017). Carlson Companies strategy is built on three key aims that include wanting its brand to become the leading brand in different segments that the company operates, making the company the number one hospitality and travel company with the best working environment for employees, and becoming the best travel and hospitality company for investing with. To ensure the key strategic ambitions are fulfilled, Carlson Companies is investing in its brands, revolutionizing its operations and developing key strategic markets across the globe.
From the case study, the company information technology division is responsible for providing its internal clients with information technology services and supports a range of user applications and services. To meet the company’s business operational requirements, the company Information Technology Department deploys a centralized data processing model. The model consists of a central computing environment that incorporates an IBM mainframe and more than 50 Su servers and network Hewlett-Packed. The IBM mainframe holds the companies most operations by providing a wide array of application support including Microsoft Exchange, Oracle financial database, Web, email, PeopleSoft, and a data house application. Carlson implemented a storage area network (SAN). The implementation of SAN was based on its capability to offer reliable, scalable, and proper accommodation to the increasing demands of the company’s users.
Considering the Carlson SAN approach, it can be implemented in today’s Cloud computing environment due to several reasons including the ability of the IP SAN to use familiar IP management tools. According to the case study, the situation at Carlson requires the use of IP security tools. Steve Brown, the Company CIO, and senior vice present explain that Carlson is facing a major problem when it comes to the ability to encrypt packet streams since the company handles a large number of transactions for other companies. Brown, also provide that using the data streams encryption security approach would be important it making sure that nobody can break in the system and steal critical information. The Company uses the encryption tools in its IP SAN and its primary Ethernet data network (Simpson, 2012). The application of Cloud computing can be applied by Carlson Companies with regard to its future plans that involve developing a centralized backup and recovery of remote sites in Minneapolis as a central data center. Carlson also has plans to execute hot data backups between data centers which can be implemented in today’s Cloud computing environment.
Pros and Cons of Data Consolidation
The consolidation of SAN data in a central location has both advantages and disadvantages. The pros that were discovered by Carlson’s IT experts include that the Fiber Channel’s initial costs would have been the same with IP, but in long run, the IP approach could be able to save the company money. Another pro that the Company IT group considered in the implementation of the IP SAN approach is the avoidance of cost in areas of personnel, testing equipment, monitoring, and managing equipment that is lower when compared to the Fiber Channel. With Carlson considering security tools as an important component in their information system, choosing the IP SAN was essential due to its ability to use familiar IP management tools (Stallings, 2009). Also, IP SAN has the ability to conduct encryption for packet streams which would solve the company’s issues of handling a large number of transactions for companies without security worries. Another important advantage of IP SAN is drawn from the fact that it is well-structured and hence easy to understand. It therefore helps to support the IP networking technologies (Stallings, 2009). IP SAN also facilitates integration when storage data is placed on it thus increasing the efficiency in storage services for the Company’s enterprise-wide network such as enabling centralized backup of remote sites to the data center SAN.
However, IP SAN holds several disadvantages that include its ability to efficiently function that requires the company to have enough and well-trained staff, enough budget for its running, and other business requirements to support its functioning, which might be a challenging task to be accomplished. Despite the IP SAN ability to benefit companies or servers that require centralized management, managing the SAN is considered more expensive when the company only requires few individual servers, which can be managed easily without SAN installation (Reasons to use a SAN, 2013). It is also important for the company to consider the benefit that it would receive from SAN in justification of the cost spend in running SAN. If the only requires a few servers to benefit from SAN, it would be considered a loss if the company installs SAN. Another disadvantage associated with SAN is the equipment of measuring its performance, which is expensive to acquire.
Issues Raised from Vendors
Several issues from a number of Carlson vendors are raised concerning Carlson San mixing equipment. According to the IT global strategy of Carlson Companies, it considers safeguarding corporate data generated from different remote locations as essential for the continuity of business. However, the strategy which relies on every remote office to back up its own data locally does not offer a guarantee that each remote office completes data backups successfully or does it guarantee that the data can be restored in the event of failure. Another approach that Carlson uses is the streamline backup operations, which entails making its central data center an operation center for remote backup. The Company also applies software that has the ability to block change backup, thus the data that is sent to the central data backup facility is only the one that has changed since the last backup. The strategy helps in reducing the amount of data that is sent across a wide area network and also fulfills the objective of the company to secure dispersed corporate information assets. To reduce the amount of traffic generated over the wide-area network, the block change software can be applied in remote sites that contain a local file server.
The Reduction of Administration and Management
IP SAN aids in the management of administrative and storage operations. The company can therefore take advantage of the well-developed IP networking strategies to implement a fully functional system. Putting storage data over IP facilitates more storage service integration increasing efficiency for the company’s wide network including backing up data from remote centralized sites to the SAN data center. SAN also contains core and edge San storage layers on its back-end that facilitate the high-speed transfer of data between storage devices and the hosts. SAN is based on the Fiber Channel protocol which ensures that delivery is done within the appropriate speeds. SAN also consists of Fabric Shortest Path First (FSFP) that runs all switches enabling fast fabric coverage and increases the best bath selection. FSP is responsible for the creation of multiple paths between the storage devices and the hosts.
The core layer of SAN enables high-speed connectivity between the external connections and the edge switches at a 10 Gbps links or through tracking of multiple links to create a maximum throughput. SAN core switches are also used as master deices for selected management functions including Cisco fabric services and primary zoning switch. Other functions conducted by the SAN core layer are advanced storage functions such as iSCSI, continuous protection of data, and virtualization. The edge layer of SAN is parallel to the IP network access layer, which allows connectivity of end devices such as tape devices, storage, and host devices to the network. However, the application of SAN can only be beneficial to a company if the company has the budget, business requirements, and the right staff to support it (Wright, 2018). Therefore, a company needs to weigh the cost against the benefits, especially companies that only require a few servers to benefit from the speed and reliability benefits provided by SAN. If the company cannot justify the cost of SAN against its needs, it should consider avoiding the installation of SAN.
Cloud services are increasing in the corporate field as more enterprises turn to their services, solutions, and transformation of services. Carlson Companies can use cloud computing instead of the SAN due to the ability of the cloud-based network to provide scalable data solutions for business needs as the one Carlson operates. The agility in business that cloud computing offers to enable the company to increase its revenues while infrastructure costs reduce. The cloud storage systems are designed to back up files, databases, and applications to a centralized location from any location of the business operation easily. Access to cloud storage can be conducted easily via standard network protocols and tools (Hostway & HOSTING, 2019). Cloud computing has functions that offer more advanced benefits when compared to SAN. Despite freeing up local storage space, the cloud computing security is considered one of the best with benefits such as protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which are currently on the rise. Cloud security also has protocol security that capable of detecting and preventing sensitive information breaches and protecting transactions. The company using cloud computing is assured with high-security availability and support through best-practices and redundancies that are in place to ensure the company’s website and applications are always functional as required.
For Carlson Companies to fulfill its strategy that aims at becoming the best brand in different company segments across the globe, it highly depends on its information technology operations that support a range of user applications and services. To ensure the IT operations are on its best, the Company has replaced the Fiber Channel SAN with the IP SAN-based on its capability to offer reliable, scalable, and proper accommodation to the increasing demands of the company’s users. IP SAN can also be implemented in today’s cloud computing environment due to its ability to use familiar IP management tools and other reasons provided in this paper. With IP SAN, Carlson can solve different issues raised by vendors and to improve the management of administrative and storage operations. However, the company’s approach to consolidation of SAN data in a central location is considered to have its pros such as saving money and improving data security, while cons such as a requirement to have well-trained staff and enough budget for efficient operation. Cloud computing is recommended as a replacement of the IP SAN approach for Carlson due to its ability to provide scalable data solutions for business operations and providing high data security.
Carlson. (2017). Worldwide, World-Class: Welcome to the World of Carlson. Retrieved from http://carlson.com/
Hostway & HOSTING. (2019). Cloud Storage – The Difference between NAS VS. SAN. Retrieved from https://www.hosting.com/cloud-storage-the-difference-between-nas-vs-san/
Wright, D. (2018). The history of the IEEE 802 standard. IEEE Communications Standards Magazine, 2(2), 4-4.
Stallings, W. (2009). In Business communication. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Simpson, D. (2012, August 01). Carlson’s data center relies on IP SAN. QuinStreet Inc. Retrieved from http://www.infostor.com/index/articles/display/152933/articles/infostor/volume-6/issue-8/news-analysis-trends/carlsons-data-center-relies-on-ip-san.html