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F5 Helps Orbital Sciences Take Command of Storage Growth and Reduce Costs

Orbital Sciences named finalist for Storage Networking World ‘Best Practices’ award for using F5 ARX solutions to efficiently scale storage capacity to meet demand, eliminate downtime during data migrations, and reclaim valuable Tier 1 resources

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking, today announced that Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, has deployed the F5® ARX® solution to control rising data storage costs and increase operational efficiencies.

Orbital’s use of ARX to address its storage challenges has earned the company a spot as a finalist in the ‘Best Practices’ awards program, sponsored by Storage Networking World, in conjunction with Computerworld and the Storage Networking Industry Association. Orbital’s IT team will be recognized at an awards ceremony at SNW Spring in Orlando, Florida. In addition, Bryan Pretre, Orbital’s Senior IT Operations Manager, will deliver a presentation at the conference entitled, “Taking Command of Skyrocketing Growth” on Wednesday, April 14 at 11:45 a.m.

Shifting Strategies to Manage Storage Growth

Complex engineering applications and the need to keep product data accessible for up to 20 years were pushing Orbital’s storage environment to the limit. In 2006, the company’s storage environment contained 33 terabytes (TB) of data. By the end of 2009, it had grown to 120TB. Volume size limitations were constantly being hit, forcing the company to routinely invest in new storage to keep up with demand or to undertake complex steps to relocate and present data. When a three-year capital expenditure projection for storage hit $2,000,000, the IT team knew it was time to move forward with a new approach.

Orbital’s long-time technology solutions partner, Trace3, worked closely with the IT team to virtualize its file storage environment with F5 ARX. This enabled file movement between devices without requiring reconfiguration of client drive mappings. Then, Orbital introduced an automated storage tiering strategy using ARX’s automated file management policies.

Now, data that has not been modified in 180 days or more is moved to more cost-effective Tier 2 storage, where it continues to be readily available to users. As a result, Orbital has been able to boost operational efficiencies, minimize disruptive downtime, and significantly reduce overall storage costs.

“Our budget requirements to sustain growth levels have been extraordinary. We had to reshape the growth curve,” recalled Tom Hall, Senior Director of Information Services at Orbital Sciences. “ARX and storage tiering have helped us achieve that goal. I run across very few technologies that perform exactly the way they are marketed. ARX is one of them. It certainly has met our expectations and continues to impress us with capabilities we weren’t aware of.”

Highlights of Orbital’s ARX deployment include:

  • Streamlined Storage Provisioning: Previously, provisioning storage required manual data migrations and downtime that could last several days. With ARX, all volumes are presented as a virtual storage pool, making storage provisioning fast and non-disruptive, and allowing the IT team to quickly scale resources to meet users’ needs.
  • Reclaimed Tier 1 Capacity: Over 70 percent of Orbital’s unstructured data has been moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2, ensuring the high-performance disk is reserved for the data that really needs it.
  • Optimized Data Backups: Moving aged or unmodified data off to Tier 2 has dramatically reduced the size of Orbital’s weekly backup of Tier 1 data, and is driving down backup costs as well.
  • Seamless Data Migrations: Data migrations now take place without downtime or user disruption. In one recent project, ARX moved 672,175 files in 24 minutes, without impacting users’ ability to access those files.

“Orbital’s experiences and CapEx and OpEx savings mirror what we see every day in organizations that deploy ARX,” said Nigel Burmeister, Director of Product Marketing at F5 Networks. “Data growth creates tremendous pressure on storage budgets and on the IT team. ARX gives these organizations a lifeline, making it possible to simplify data management, reduce costs, and improve business agility and efficiency.”

For additional information on Orbital Sciences’ use of F5’s ARX solution, please visit ARX will be on display in Booth #411 at the Storage Networking World expo, April 13–14, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. For more information, please visit

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), focused on ensuring the secure, reliable, and fast delivery of applications. F5’s flexible architectural framework enables community-driven innovation that helps organizations enhance IT agility and dynamically deliver services that generate true business value. F5’s vision of unified application and data delivery offers customers an unprecedented level of choice in how they deploy ADN solutions. It redefines the management of application, server, storage, and network resources, streamlining application delivery and reducing costs. Global enterprise organizations, service and cloud providers, and Web 2.0 content providers trust F5 to keep their business moving forward. For more information, go to

F5 and ARX are trademarks or service marks of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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