A WEST YORKSHIRE COUNCIL
Our client is a Council that serves a West Yorkshire borough and its 200,000 citizens, supporting them with a variety of public services.
OVERCOMING GROWING DATA VOLUMES AND SHRINKING BUDGETS
A combination of reduced budgets and an ageing storage and backup environment made it hard for the Council to continue providing its quality services and the organisation became concerned about the rising cost and complexity of handling growing data volumes.
The Council had to ask users to delete old files to save storage capacity and the replication of data between main and remote sites could on occasion take a few days.
The internal IT department realised that the implementation of a new, more efficient storage system could solve these two challenges at the same time. The Council asked several technology providers to submit a tender proposal for the refresh of its storage and backup systems. After narrowing down the potential options, the choice soon became clear.
SMARTER, COST-EFFECTIVE BACKUP AND STORAGE FROM DTP
While many vendors were happy to suggest adding more storage volumes and creation of a faster backup infrastructure – at great cost to the council – DTP suggested a solution that took a different approach.
Instead of adding more storage, DTP’s proposal would shrink the amount of data sent to the backup site while consolidating file-shares and virtual machines down to a single SAN array.
Using HP StoreOnce 4700 and HP’s Catalyst control software, the Council has been able to deduplicate backup data at source, so only changed blocks are stored locally and copied to the remote backup site. Meanwhile an HP 3PAR 7200 consolidated an increasingly complex environment down to a single array.
CONSOLIDATING COUNCIL DATA
With growing data volumes, the Council’s legacy storage systems were struggling to keep up. And due to their age, the council had to pay for third-party support and maintenance on top of the systems’ usual running costs. The Council needed a new SAN to accommodate the changing data landscape, so the Principal IT Officer was glad to receive DTP’s HP-based proposal:
“HP is a major, reliable brand. This was a big point when we were considering the solutions. The 3PAR system has enabled us to migrate all of our file-shares onto a single piece of hardware, while leaving plenty of extra space for VMware and SQL servers we’re planning to run in the future.”
The new SAN has reduced costs and eliminated the Council’s capacity challenges. And the new systems are future-proofed against expected data growth for the next five years.
LESS COST, LESS DATA – FASTER BACKUP
DTP’s suggested approach was to use the HP StoreOnce appliance. In conjunction with Catalyst and Data Protector control software, the Council can now deduplicate data during backup, only sending block change data to the remote site. This has reduced backup times significantly, as the Principal IT Officer explains:
“We initially setup the remote system in our main data centre to migrate initial data at fibre speeds. Since moving the system off to the remote site, we’ve only copied changed block data over. It’s much quicker this way. DTP’s advice was very helpful.”
The flexible, configurable nature of the HP Catalyst software has further empowered the Council’s backup strategy. The Principal IT Officer says:
“HP Catalyst has proven versatile and powerful. And with the recent Veeam v9 update we have been able to mix and match using Data Protector and Veeam to back up our physical and virtual servers respectively.”
“DTP HAS BEEN A GREAT PARTNER TO WORK WITH”
Throughout deployment, migration and rollout, the Council has had a consistently positive experience with DTP. Of the initial rollout, the Principal IT Officer says:
“It took just two weeks for DTP to come in and build the solution. DTP has offered helpful advice at every stage of the process.”
Unlike other solutions that would completely replace the existing SAN, DTP’s offering was designed to run in conjunction with the Council’s legacy current hardware. This was particularly important to the council, and to the IT team:
“As a standalone solution, everything was implemented alongside existing kit. This allowed us to migrate systems at our own convenience. There was very little disruption and no downtime. Because the solution was independent of the existing system, there was no need to switch anything off to connect it to our data centre.”
The Principal IT Officer was equally pleased with the support offered:
“Throughout the project both DTP and HP have been quick to respond to any support requests and have helped us rapidly configure the solution to match our exact requirements.”
As an organisation using mostly Dell solutions prior to installing HP storage, the HP hardware was initially unfamiliar to Ian and his team. Thanks to DTP’s support, the Council’s IT staff had all the documentation they needed to hit the ground running with the new solution.
“DTP was very helpful with its documentation. The engineers took screenshots of absolutely everything when they were setting up and configuring the solution, and we were able to learn the ropes of the new system very quickly as a result.”
“DTP helped us achieve all our goals within this project, and the implementation has been a success thanks to their help.”
Though the Council has only recently completely migrated all department data onto the new system, it is already seeing the benefits. More capacity in both primary and backup systems, along with a much faster backup process and a significantly cheaper storage infrastructure.
“Everything in the system works very well. We are pleased with the results. If we embark on any other major IT projects in the future, we would certainly consider working with DTP again.”
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