[Customer Spotlight]Detroit Free Press

[
Customer Spotlight
]
Detroit Free Press
KEEPING
NEWS HOT
OFF
THE PRESS
42
DELL INSIGHT MARCH 2004
Detroit Free Press
[
Customer Spotlight
]
THE DETROIT FREE PRESS TURNED TO DELL
FOR RELIABLE PCs, COST-EFFECTIVE
SERVERS, AND A STORAGE SOLUTION THAT
PROVIDES INCREASED CAPACITY AND
FASTER BACKUP
DETROIT FREE PRESS
of the major metropoli-
for its PC and server hardware needs, but
tan newspapers serving
decided in 2000 to seek out more stable
»CHALLENGE Strengthen IT infrastructure
Detroit and southeastern
desktop and notebook computers and more
by replacing unstable notebook computers,
Michigan, the Detroit Free Press has a
cost-effective servers. The newspaper also
standardizing the data center to manage depart-
circulation of approximately 360,000 and
needed to implement a storage area network
offers both a printed newspaper and a full-
(SAN) to meet the capacity demands of its
service online news Web site. Because the
growing file archives.
ONE
newspaper relies on technology to gather,
staff must ensure that its entire infrastruc-
Journalists in the field require
high-performance, reliable notebooks
ture is running optimally, whether in the
For journalists on assignment in the field,
server room, the newsroom, or the field.
notebook computers are the lifeline to the
edit, and report information, the paper’s IT
mental needs, and implementing a storage and
backup solution to handle massive file archives
»SOLUTION Deploy 400 desktop computers
ranging from the Dell™ OptiPlex™ GX110 to
OptiPlex GX260, and Dell Latitude™ X200
notebook computers; Dell PowerEdge™ servers;
As the Detroit Free Press was reporting
newsroom. According to Stephen Moun-
and a storage area network (SAN) based
on the latest changes and important events
teer, assistant technology editor at the
on the Dell/EMC¨ FC4500 array and a
in the outside world, the newspaper’s IT
Detroit Free Press, the paper had been
Dell PowerVault™ 136T tape library for
staff was also busy revolutionizing the orga-
using notebooks that are traditionally
automated backup
nization’s IT infrastructure. For years, the
favored by graphic designers and photogra-
newspaper had relied on various vendors
phers, but they were ready for a change.
»BENEFIT Greater PC reliability for journalists
in the field; a cost-effective, high-performance
data center in the newsroom; high storage
capacity to manage file archives; and fast
data retrieval
Customer Spotlight
MARCH 2004 DELL INSIGHT
43
[
Customer Spotlight
]
Detroit Free Press
“IF WE HAD UNDERTAKEN THE
SERVER UPGRADES ON OUR
OWN, THE PROJECT WOULD
HAVE TAKEN US MORE THAN
THREE MONTHS INSTEAD OF
ONLY THREE WEEKS”
“When things went wrong, we were forced
with Dell OptiPlex™ GX110, GX240, and
these servers also play a key role in helping
to send the hardware away to be repaired
GX260 computers.
the newspaper with its daily reporting tasks.
For example, one server runs an application
for months at a time,” Mounteer says. “As
a daily newspaper, we simply could not
afford the PC downtime.”
Budget restraints call for a
cost-effective data center
that brings in wire service feeds such as the
Associated Press and Reuters, and then auto-
Seeking more stable computers, the
At the same time, the organization spurred
matically builds the newspaper’s daily
Detroit Free Press decided to replace its
a search for more affordable servers to meet
sports statistic pages.
notebooks with Dell™ Latitude™ CS series
budget limitations. After evaluating its
notebooks. Mounteer recalls that the switch
options, the Detroit Free Press ultimately
to Dell was a tremendous success for the
chose Dell PowerEdge servers to act as
Dell helps the Detroit Free Press find
the perfect shot
organization. “The performance and stabil-
domain controllers and departmental file-
The Detroit Free Press relies on photos,
ity of Dell notebook computers help our
and-print servers. Today, approximately 80
files, and footage to create compelling
correspondents file reports with speed and
percent of the servers in the data center
content. The newspaper collects and
reliability,” Mounteer says. The initial
carry the Dell brand.
stores hundreds of thousands of multi-
™
success of the switchover led to a purchase
Not only did the organization save on
media files ranging from PDFs and JPEGs
of Latitude X200 notebooks in 2002. Jour-
the acquisition costs of its servers, but A.J.
to wave files and video, and these files
nalists have leveraged the wireless capabili-
Hartley, newsroom technology director at
sometimes are needed long after they are
ties of these notebooks and used them to
the Detroit Free Press, says his team also
created. For that reason, the Detroit Free
cover big news stories such as the 2002
was able to use the Dell Web site for fast
Press required a storage solution that
Olympics and the 2003 war in Iraq.
and easy ordering. “The ease of purchasing
could house large volumes of data and
“Since we switched to Dell notebook
directly from the Dell Web site was some-
enable fast file retrieval.
computers, we have had virtually no hard-
thing that we did not find anywhere else. It
The newspaper implemented a SAN
ware problems,” Mounteer says. “More-
enabled us to configure our own servers to
based on a Dell/EMC® FC4500 storage
over, when we do need repairs, Dell comes
fit within our budget, and we didn’t have to
array connected to two Intel ® Xeon ™
to our organization to fix the problems.
involve a middleman.”
processor–based Dell PowerEdge 2650
Our computers are back up and running in
The Dell PowerEdge servers have helped
servers and a Dell PowerVault™ 136T tape
no time.” The paper also took this oppor-
the newspaper increase system availability,
library for backup. The SAN houses the
tunity to upgrade some of its desktops
performance, and fault tolerance. Many of
organization’s SQL databases, which store
44
DELL INSIGHT MARCH 2004
Detroit Free Press
[
Customer Spotlight
]
different data files and enable access to the
The newspaper relied on the project
Hartley says. “If we had undertaken the
newspaper’s archives, including a digital
management services of DPS to help with
server upgrades on our own, the project
photo archive that contains photographs
the imaging of approximately 300 PCs. In the
would have taken us more than three
spanning the last 10 years. “Without the
server room, the Detroit Free Press engaged
months instead of only three weeks.”
SAN, we would not have been able to do a
DPS to assist with an installation of
Since deploying Dell hardware for its
front-page feature to celebrate the 100th
Microsoft® Active Directory® services that
PC, server, and storage needs, the Detroit
birthday of the Ford Motor Company,”
was accomplished in just two weeks, and an
Free Press has enjoyed an IT infrastructure
Mounteer says. “Thanks to the high perfor-
upgrade from Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0
that offers higher performance and more
mance of the SAN, we were able to search
to Exchange Server 2000 that was completed
stability at a reduced acquisition cost. “Dell
instantaneously across 10 years of archives to
within one week. Most recently, DPS helped
has enabled us to dramatically change our
find the best images. Before the SAN, we
the newspaper implement its SAN, and DPS
data center,” Mounteer says. “We are now
would have had to scan each database indi-
continues to assist the newspaper with
able to do more sophisticated things with
vidually to perform this search.” Addition-
firmware updates and maintenance. “For
technology in an economical way.”
ally, replacing the newspaper’s direct attach
example, our SAN automatically notifies
As the Detroit Free Press considers its
storage devices with the Dell PowerVault
Dell when it experiences certain technical
future technology needs, the organization
136T tape library has simplified backups
problems,” Mounteer says. “DPS then
plans to leverage the Gigabit Ethernet1 capa-
because the staff no longer needs to manually
responds immediately to make sure that the
bilities of its Dell servers to increase the
change backup tapes on individual drives.
SAN is running properly.”
speed and bandwidth of its network. “When
Although the newspaper rarely uses
we have a big news day around here, we
Implementations are a snap with Dell
Professional Services
technology consultants, Hartley and his
push the limits of our IT infrastructure,”
team believe the DPS engagements were an
Hartley says. “Dell helps us ensure that we
Dell Professional Services (DPS) has helped
exception—and well worth the time saved.
are always ready to handle this type of situ-
the Detroit Free Press revamp its IT infra-
“DPS helped us get started in the right
ation, because that is when our readers are
structure virtually every step of the way.
direction and gave us a solid foundation,”
counting on us the most.”
1
This term does not connote an actual operating speed of 1 Gbps. For high-speed transmission, connection to a Gigabit Ethernet server and network infrastructure is required.
MARCH 2004 DELL INSIGHT
45
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