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New system helps Mullin Consulting provide fast file access to far–flung employees

Many companies grapple with network performance limitations that make it difficult to open large, centralized files at distant locations. But Mullin Consulting Inc., which designs benefits packages for other companies' executives, has found a way to provide its employees across the country with instant access to customer information located in server and storage systems at its headquarters.

Mullin is an early user of I–shared, a file–management system from Tacit Networks Inc. that will be widely available this week. I–shared lets employees in Chicago open and use big files at Mullin's Los Angeles headquarters across networks using standard Ethernet and IP protocols. A preconfigured appliance, priced from $7,500 to $22,500 depending on the number of users, sits at the Chicago office and communicates with a $21,500 central appliance at headquarters, using technologies such as compression to speed access to stored files.

Cornelio Gino, senior IT managing associate at Mullin, says I–shared helps employees improve customer relations. "It was difficult for our users to access a file that was in any other city," Gino says. "The users needed a lot of time to open files, and that hampered customer service." Mullin plans to install I–shared appliances at its Minneapolis and New York offices next year.

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