Princess Cruises is one of the world’s premier cruise lines, carrying more than one million passengers every year to more worldwide destinations than any other major line. Every time a Princess Cruises ship embarks on a new cruise the crew includes a photographic team of up to 17 staff photographers that takes thousands of digital pictures of passengers every day. By the end of this year all 17 Princess cruise ships will store those irreplaceable vacation photos on PlatinumNAS™ 1.6 terabyte high-availability network storage solutions from MicroNet Technology.
Princess Cruises recently completed the first shipboard installation of PlatinumNAS data storage devices to provide secure, shared network storage of the vast capacity of digital photographs the staff photographers produce on each cruise. According to Gary Griggs, Coordinator, Photo/Technical at Princess Cruises, the company decided to go with MicroNet as its network storage supplier based on the value, feature set and reliability of the PlatinumNAS product. “We were working with a consultant who was helping us with the whole program that we’re developing and he highly recommended MicroNet to us,” said Griggs. “We then went out ourselves and looked at some of the other options available and agreed that the MicroNet PlatinumNAS was the right product for us and our Shipboard Systems group from our IT Department fully supported this decision.”
A critical concern for Griggs and his team was ensuring that the storage devices they selected would be reliable enough to perform in the shipboard environment that extends beyond three months for the longest cruises that the company offers. Risking the loss of wedding photos and other once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories to an inferior storage product was not an option for the company.
MicroNet’s PlatinumNAS is ideally suited for the high-availability demands of Princess Cruises with its zero downtime architecture, including true hot swap disk drives. With the RAID configuration used by Princess Cruises a failed disk drive can quickly and easily be replaced without any data loss or interruption in access to digital photos stored on the system.
Princess cruises is taking no chances and building in double redundancy for the ship-based photo storage on the PlatinumNAS units. Each four-drive PlatinumNAS is set up in a RAID configuration so that every file is continuously backed up eliminating the chance for data loss if a drive fails. Additionally, each cruise ship is being equipped with a pair of PlatinumNAS units connected via a Gigabit Ethernet network and located in different areas of the ship. This configuration provides ultimate protection of the priceless passenger photos, creating four copies of each digital photo spread across eight disk drives and two network storage devices.
The shipboard staff photographers shoot thousands of passenger photos each day of the cruise. Those pictures are then loaded on the PlatinumNAS units and edited as needed in Photoshop. The shipboard photo team then produces prints for passenger sale. In addition to the staff photographs, Princess Cruises also makes space available on its PlatinumNAS photo storage for passengers to download their own digital photos, which are then burned to CD as a special customer service.
MicroNet has optimized the PlatinumNAS for both performance and high availability required by Princess Cruises. The RAID controller supports four independent SATA drive channels, enabling high-speed data access across all ports simultaneously with support for RAID 0, 1 and 5. Performance is further enhanced with 256 MB of write-back/write-through error correcting cache memory. Dual-channel gigabit Ethernet connectivity speeds access to data and allows multiple sub-networks and workgroups to access the server simultaneously without impact on data throughput. In addition to true hot-swappable drives, high data availability is assured with support for uninterrupted online RAID initialization and simultaneous online RAID expansion and RAID level or size migration. The compact size and energy efficiency also make the PlatinumNAS the ideal shipboard storage solution for Princess Cruises. Although PlatinumNAS has terabyte capacity and gigabit connectivity, it consumes 35 percent less energy than competitive products. It is also smaller and lighter with the small footprint a perfect fit given the space restrictions on a cruise ship.
About Princess Cruises
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided in an environment of exceptional customer service. A recognized leader in worldwide cruising, Princess offers its passengers the opportunity to escape to the top destinations around the globe, with sailings to all seven continents, ranging in length from seven to 102 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE:CCL; NYSE:CUK).
Based in Torrance, California, MicroNet and Fantom Drives manufacture a full range of data storage solutions for a wide range of customers, from the affordable Titanium line of desktop products to high-performance RAID and NAS solutions. MicroNet and Fantom Drives continue to lead the industry in quality, performance and value. Their award-winning storage solutions include Titanium™ disk drives, SANcube™ FireWire Storage Area Networks, the miniMate™ and the Platinum™ family of personal storage.