SCOTTS VALLEY, CA--(Marketwire - October 6, 2009) - Virtual Instruments, the leader in virtual infrastructure optimization solutions, today announced that Unilever PLC, one of the world's largest consumer goods companies, has chosen NetWisdom to increase the effectiveness of its Storage Area Network (SAN), by reducing system complexity while optimizing SAN traffic, enhancing device performance and accelerating the troubleshooting process. The NetWisdom and VirtualWisdom family of products are designed to allow new levels of problem diagnosis, downtime prevention and performance optimization on complex, heterogeneous Fibre Channel SANs and virtualized IT infrastructures.

Unilever's highly complex state of the art and legacy environments support one of the world's largest SAP implementations. Unilever identified a requirement as part of a continuous service improvement process to rework a significant portion of their SAN. The volume of work was a significant challenge for the very lean and highly cost-effective SAN team, but the benefits of making the changes were significant. With five petabytes of data to manage and predicted annual storage growth approaching 50 percent, Unilever's SAN team began by standardizing on new switches and swapping out old ports. However, in order to assert new levels of control over the recently consolidated fabric, Unilever turned to Virtual Instruments' NetWisdom to provide it with an unparalleled view of the current system status as well as the ability to accurately pin-point problem areas before they resulted in frustrated users or costly downtime.

"Managing a SAN of any size can be highly problematic as it is often impossible to tell where the hot spots and bottlenecks are until you have trouble tickets being raised for performance issues. When you scale this up to a company of Unilever's size and breadth you're presented with multiple business divisions across multiple geographies where downtime could cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars -- this is unacceptable," explained Mike Royle, Enterprise Services Director, Unilever. "The SAN environment is approaching 95 percent virtualized which has many advantages; however, it also results in increased complexity. Having worked hard to reach this stage we needed to find a vendor agnostic solution that could really underpin the SAN and give us the ability to see when and where performance problems might arise. We can then be proactive in managing the risk. Following implementation, NetWisdom provided us with immediate, deep-level insight as well as invaluable, actionable information on our SAN."

Implementation and training were started and completed in June 2009, and NetWisdom now monitors fabrics in real-time across replicated Unilever data centers. By tailoring the interface to Unilever's specific requirements, Virtual Instruments was able to drastically reduce the time it took to get the SAN team up to speed. In real terms this meant that six weeks from inception the team was already identifying repetitive and potentially costly problems such as specific switch bottlenecks, replicated fabric balancing issues and virtual library testing inconsistencies. As a side benefit, NetWisdom also provides Unilever with the transparency to drive resolutions with its primary storage vendors, a task that was previously complicated due to the complex architectures involved and the lack of visibility into the overall SAN.

"Large virtualized storage environments such as Unilever's are fast becoming the norm in global enterprises and can become unwieldy to manage, but the very same issues crop up time and time again at nearly all enterprise data centers. Without a view into the murky waters of a SAN, problems can, and will, arise, and it is precisely these areas where NetWisdom is giving our customers an unrivalled foothold on the steep climb to optimum SAN utilization and maximum performance," commented Mark Urdahl, CEO, Virtual Instruments. "We're obviously very pleased that Unilever has not only put its trust in Virtual Instruments, but that it is already realizing the promise of an early warning system that will save it valuable time and drive down unnecessary costs."

With fabric management made a great deal easier after implementation, Unilever can continue to manage its high data volume growth with a flat headcount in the SAN team. Furthermore, the team is already confident at overcoming other traditional problem areas such as reducing the number of devices within the SAN, accurately forecasting capacity requirements, consolidating and decommissioning legacy servers and qualifying known areas of opportunity in relation to storage ports.

About Virtual Instruments

Virtual Instruments offers the award-winning NetWisdom and VirtualWisdom virtual infrastructure optimization solutions that provide deep monitoring and analysis of how the virtualized IT infrastructure and SAN affect business-critical application performance. Customers such as Barclay's Card Services, Kaiser Permanente and McKesson Corp. achieve significant cost savings in virtualization and SAN deployments by optimizing utilization, performance and availability of IT resources. Leading system and storage vendors including IBM, HP, HDS, and EMC leverage Virtual Instruments to design and optimize SAN solutions for enterprise customers. The company was founded in June 2008 via a spin-out from Finisar Corp. The company has headquarters in Scotts Valley, Calif., and can be found online at

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