Due to growth, our data centre, including storage, reached its limits. Two key requirements for the new infrastructure were scalability and flexibility, to allow the IT side of mergers to run as efficiently as possible. Reliability with an up-time of at least 99.9 per cent was also essential. Data restore following a technical or logic error needed to be considerably faster than in the past. We also wanted to achieve as high a level of standardisation as possible so we could easily outsource the systems to a housing provider if this became necessary in the future.
Following a detailed tender and selection process, we concluded that an HP Converged Infrastructure could fulfill our requirements. The deciding factor was the way the backup solution worked with the storage system in the fibre channel-based storage network we wanted. The HP Converged Infrastructure consists of two HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage systems, two HP StoreOnce 4430 backup systems, HP Data Protector software for storing and restoring data, an MSL4048 tape library for long term archiving of data and multiple Brocade SAN switches for the HP BladeSystem for the storage network, increasing the band width from 4GB to 8 GB per second. The HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage systems were provided with 64 terabytes of storage capacity. These are currently 70 per cent full. That fits with our business requirements. We have enough space for both organic growth as well as for future company purchases. We can also expand the HP 3PAR StoreServ quickly and easily at any time by adding further nodes, which gives us a very high degree of flexibility.
To ensure the high availability of the system,we fitted the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage systems with the replication and automatic transparent failover software features. If hardware outages or entire data centre outage happens, Storage services are automatically assumed by other components – without any loss of service. The tiering functionality saves the company money as the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 automatically decides to which storage type the data should be written (tiered according to speed and therefore price), depending on data access. We are now starting to use the reporting functionality of the storage solution. We want to control the infrastructure proactively in terms of IT service management. The monitoring and reporting functionalities help us with this.
The entire system has been very stable right from the start – and also very fast. Our customers have noticed from our considerably faster response times that we have completely redesigned our data centre. Today, even the slowest tiering level in the storage system is faster than our old solution. The company intends to achieve further cost savings on storage with its backup solution: The hard drive space required for the databases was reduced by 50 per cent just by using the corresponding adaptor from the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage system to Microsoft SQL server. This is because the HP Data Protector software stores the productive database data online to the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage system via the connector, without having to create a backup.
We have also implemented further connectors to VMware vCenter and Microsoft Exchange Server. To ensure that the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage system will always be up to date, we decided to use HP Proactive Care Services. This service reduces the IT department’s workload as we no longer have to keep track of patches and software upgrades ourselves. HP does this for us. We have already experienced the benefits of this. An HP technician contacted us and updated the system without limiting our operations at all. It went fantastically well. We can also administer the storage with just two employees. That was unthinkable before. We have a high-tech solution in the data centre which will support as we follow the company strategy in the coming years. It is also a great foundation for existing IT projects such as big data and ERP consolidation.