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News

Plymouth Healthcare Community opts for cost effective data storage solution

FalconStor Software : 17 October, 2007  (New Product)
Plymouth Healthcare Community has deployed a FalconStor IPStor solution from FalconStor Software to address challenges in its 18TB data centre.
The Plymouth Healthcare Community estimates that its IPStor virtualisation platform has reduced labour costs and time by the equivalent of one storage administrator while the flexibility of the storage system has directly saved 100,000 of capital investment through the redeployment of existing equipment and the capability to utilise cheaper storage.

Rob Harder, ICT infrastructure manager, Plymouth ICT Shared Service, said: 'The FalconStor IPStor virtualisation platform has given the Plymouth ICT Shared Service the flexibility to deliver a cost effective data storage solution across our enterprise, enabling us to mix our limited capacity, high performing and relatively expensive disk arrays with our lower-end, inexpensive disk arrays in a highly resilient and high availability environment. Management and support overheads of our previous traditional storage area network have been reduced and routine maintenance access has greatly improved. Like our virtual server infrastructure, we have quickly become very reliant on the flexibility and capability that the IPStor platform can deliver.'

The community's requirements for its new storage solution included: provisioning of storage to 120 virtual machines and 14 physical servers; the building-in of redundancy locally to provide protection against business disruption; simplifying the addition of new storage to cope with data growth; and the introduction of tiered storage where possible, using less expensive and slower disk storage if appropriate.

The IPStor-based solution delivers on all these requirements while simultaneously reducing the amount of storage administrator time needed to manage the infrastructure by the equivalent of one person, freeing up valuable time to be allocated to other projects. Plus, the use of a tiered storage strategy meant that much of the existing storage capacity could be re-used, saving around 100,000 in immediate, direct costs.

Andy Blofield, head of technology, Plymouth ICT Shared Service added: 'The IPStor virtualisation platform implementation coupled with our investment in server virtualisation has provided a robust and scaleable architecture upon which we are now able to deliver our current operational services whilst implementing integrated National and local best of breed clinical and business applications.'

The Plymouth Healthcare Community's requirements were met by choosing the combination of IPStor options that deliver the functionality needed on top of IPStor software's core capabilities:

IPStor Synchronous Mirroring option protects the RAID subsystem by maintaining a mirror of all 18TB of data - giving a total of 36TB under the IPStor software's management. In the event of a disk failure, normal service is provided by the unaffected mirror, and mirroring resumes when the defective disk has been replaced.

Application-aware Snapshot agents and IPStor TimeMark options ensure the transactional consistency for the Community's Oracle, SQL and Exchange applications and also ensure business continuity.

The IPStor HotZone option automatically re-maps data from frequently used areas of disks to higher performance storage devices in the infrastructure, resulting in enhanced read performance for the application accessing the storage.

IPStor Service Enabler option provides the Community with a non-intrusive method for the adoption of existing data LUNs into the IPStor storage environment with minimal downtime, without loss of data, and without needing to perform resource intensive copy jobs. The Community's existing data has not moved, yet can take advantage of all key IPStor storage services. Used in conjunction with the IPStor Mirroring Option, it serves as an effective tool for zero-downtime-migration of the Community's data from existing storage to newer disk arrays.

A virtual and service-enabled fibre channel SAN now operates across the single site, replacing direct-attached storage (DAS). Two IPStor servers mirror data to each other to provide the storage stability. The Community's existing infrastructure is notably heterogeneous, and includes storage arrays from Nexsan, Apple and HP; application servers from HP; and both Windows Server 2003 and VMware ESX 3.0.1 operating systems. All of these are subsumed easily into the IPStor solution.

The solution at Plymouth was delivered in conjunction with FalconStor Solution Provider partner Cristie Data Products. John Woolley, sales manager at Cristie Data Products, said: 'The IPStor platform provided the flexibility necessary for the Community to sort out their most pressing storage and data protection challenges. The Community is now looking at FalconStor Continuous Data Protection and FalconStor VirtualTape Library with de-duplication technology via the Single Instance Repository (SIR) with a view to moving towards tapeless backup, demonstrating the confidence they have developed in the platform.'

Thomas Barrett, northern region director, FalconStor, said: 'This project demonstrates that once an organisation has FalconStor IPStor software in place, anything is possible. The ease and flexibility of deploying IPStor optional services means that firms can tackle their storage issues all at once, or later in planned stages as their understanding of the software's capabilities grows. It also provides the platform for future evolution as FalconStor develops and introduces new storage and data protection techniques to help our customers meet their objectives.'
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