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McAlpine business continuity has knock-on performance benefits

Building firm replaces ageing San systems with StoreAge data replication.

Building firm Alfred McAlpine has found that a £500,000 IT investment to improve its business continuity has had knock-on benefits to application performance.

The company replaced ageing San systems and implemented a storage management system from StoreAge SVM to create a distributed back-up system that is less prone to a single point of failure.

With the help of distributor Zycko, McAlpine implemented StoreAge's Multimirror application to replicate data between multiple sites from high-end EMC arrays at the source site, to mid-range Dot Hill arrays at the destination site.

StoreAge software allows businesses to manage San systems from multiple suppliers in one console and offers additional features such as mirroring and data snapshots.

"The old San would have been expensive to renew and support and the solution was becoming unstable," said Rob Hodgkiss, project group team leader.

"With disc failure, the business was becoming exposed to risk. We needed something to take away that risk and allow us to expand the business."

However, the new technology has also greatly enhanced the performance and reliability of the applications it supports, Hodgkiss said.

Sales teams using the company's Axapta CRM application noticed an immediate improvement, he said. "Sales teams have to do monthly reports using the system. These can now be run in about 20 minutes, whereas before using the new storage system they could take hours."

Other applications had benefited from a 300% performance boost and the San system was now becoming a hub for business applications, Hodgkiss said.

"HR and payroll applications have moved onto the system and we are getting requests to move other applications on a weekly basis."

The building firm has expanded through growth and acquisition in recent years and Hodgkiss said the new storage system would provide a platform for future expansion.


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