A business’s most valuable commodity is its data, and careful, organised storage is essential. Users need to be able to access data quickly and on demand, and business owners and administrators need to know that it’s secure, backed up and available. Businesses inevitably grow, and need modern and flexible solutions that allow for the easy expansion of storage requirements in line with business needs.
Big Data has exacerbated this issue, requiring more and more storage space and IT systems that can process large data files quickly and easily. This scenario recently occurred at Gillespies LLP, a multi-disciplinary design practice.
It needed to improve its IT infrastructure due to a radical change in the building industry, which had shifted the way in which the practice designed, most notably designing and planning in 3D. This was further enhanced due to new Government compliance being rolled out stipulating that any public work needs to be backed up for 12 years.
“We were running out of storage space. We pushed the storage space that we had to the actual boundaries. We were also reliant on tape backups. A full back up would take us a week and a half to do. It wasn’t feasible to perform daily backups with our old system,” explained Simon Bullock, Head of Information & Technology, Gillespies LLP. “As we are now building in 3D, the drawings have become more complex and ultimately the file sizes we are now seeing have increased immensely. That’s an important challenge, and that’s just our live data. There will be a knock on effect into our archiving.”
Virtualisation With EMC SAN Storage
To combat this issue, Codestone migrated Gillespies to a virtualised environment with EMC VNX SAN storage to cope with the data. The new virtualised infrastructure has given Gillespies a strong foundation to build upon and grow as a company, and provided the business with a secure and reliable system for backing up, storing and accessing data.
“One of the major benefits has been speed. Just accessing data has been considerably a lot quicker than previously. Time wise, I reckon there has been a 200% increase in just obtaining information from our servers. We are probably looking at 20-35% reduction, if not more, on the time spent on waiting for a CAD drawing to be updated. Also, as things are more centralised, any information or drawings can be easily accessed rather than travelling up and down the country between offices.”
Backing Up & Protecting Data
With data protection a high priority, especially in the education and financial sectors, secure and reliable backup services are paramount, as well as a considered Disaster Recovery Invocation Plan (‘DRIP’).
A virtualised infrastructure allows a service based approach to disaster recovery, meaning that business continuity planning is no longer the luxury of the corporate enterprise and is now affordable and realistic to every organisation on a scale up, scale down basis.
Backup services, such as Veeam Backup and Replicate, can provide full workload based backups to the local network as well as to Codestone’s Cloud. Meanwhile, Disaster Recovery as a Service can enable rapid recovery of key systems to key users in the event of a disaster and a smooth and efficient recovery back to normal operations.
“We have such stringent safeguarding issues and protection of data that we had to be completely sure that our data is safe. Previously we were backing up off site, but it wasn’t as secure as a school needs to be. We went to great lengths to make this upgrade a priority,” explained Diana Howers, Bursar, St. Michael’s CofE Preparatory School. “One of our governors is an auditor for the National Audit Office and she actually visited the Codestone headquarters in Poole to check the security, and how Codestone stores its data and handles access to the data. She actually does the auditing for central government, including Downing Street, and she was very happy with what she saw.”
Managed Data Backup
Business Continuity as a Service solutions remove a large proportion of the cost and complexity around delivering a robust data backup and disaster recovery solution. Using best of breed management technologies in conjunction with a cloud platform as the backup and replication target, it is possible to remove the need for vast capital expenditure, yet benefit from an environment that can ensure that you can quickly get up and running after any kind of data disaster.
A fully managed data backup and restore solution ensures business continuity, safeguards business information, increases productivity and reduces downtime for the same or less than a capital purchase that you have to manage yourself.