The Bank of England has signed a contract with EMC to expand data storage with new SAN devices, as it considers rolling out virtual desktops to staff.

In a contract award notice published yesterday, the Bank of England said it wanted new SAN (storage area network) devices to address its storage requirements for the next five years. It plans to spen £1.1 million on the upgrade.

It is initially looking for 70 Terabytes of storage, expanding to 550 TB over five years with a possible later expansion to over 900 TB .

The systems will support Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008, HP-Unix 11.11 onwards, Redhat Linux 5-x, HP Alpha VMS 8.3 and IBM AIX 5.3, and will work with Cisco MDS network switches.

The Bank is assessing a potential move to virtual desktops for its 3,500 staff, and said the SAN would need to be able to handle the processing while maintaining "fully resilient" full levels of service.

It has contracted for a two-hour maximum response time from EMC in the event of any problems, at any time of day or night. The system will work with Commvault Simpana backup software.

The Bank will take a phased approach to replace the existing storage infrastructure over the next two to three years, and it said the new system will run alongside the existing system over that period. Work begins this month.

In the contract award notice, the Bank of England said it wanted the system to be capable of being expanded quickly "with no fork lift upgrades or swap out of devices".