Legal Aid NSW picks EMC CDP for SAN, DR upgrade

A data migration project has helped Legal Aid NSW to improve its disaster recovery plan, after it chose to upgrade its existing EMC CLARiiON fleet to newer models from the same range and add continuous data protection software.

Legal Aid NSW has upgraded a pair of end-of-lifecycle CLARiiON CX500 arrays to the newer CLARiiON CX4, and says the key to the project was the accompanying data migration effort.

“We spent a fair bit of time planning,” said Safdar Iqbal, Operations Manager, Information Technology Services, Legal Aid New South Wales. “Before the migration to the new systems, we cleaned up a lot of data. Any organisation will have redundant data: – we cleaned whatever we could purely to get rid of unwanted stuff so we could reduce the amount of data to migrate.”

“We just did full disaster recovery testing in the middle of the day without creating any hassles. That was the first time in my 15 year working life I was able to do it in the middle of the day without effecting production systems.”

Safdar Iqbal, Operations Manager, Information Technology Services, Legal Aid New South Wales

The organisation also had to plan how to run its virtual servers from its new storage arrays.

“Our storage area for virtual machines was separate to the environment we used for storage supporting physical servers,” Iqbla explained to SearchStorage ANZ. “There was a LUN for a virtual that was not shared by anything else, so we picked that up and migrated it.”

“That takes longer, but there is less chance of error: the only other way to do it we could think of was to migrate the virtual machines and then attach a data volume.”

The migration effort nevertheless required six to eight weeks, but the outcomes have been worth it because the organisation now has far better disaster recovery facilities than it did before its upgrade. This improvement has come about thanks to the installation of a new CX4 in the organisation’s backup data centre and the implementation of EMC’s RecoverPoint continuous data protection software.

“One of the objectives for the upgrade was to implement RecoverPoint and VMware Site Recovery Manager,” Iqbal said. “We wanted our outage windows to be as small as possible. It used to be 24 hours but now we have continuous replication,” thanks to an Internet Protocol link between the organisation’s two data centres.

Iqbal said this arrangement has proven exceptionally robust.

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