Storage roundup: Company cuts backup window from five days to 12 hours

Storage roundup: Finance co. cuts backup window from five days to 12 hours; NetApp goes to the zoo; Balesio launches new version; tape storage still key, says survey; and more.

Finance company cuts backup window from five days to 12 hours

Financial services company The Funding Corporation has cut its backup window from five days to 12 hours following a move from Symantec tape-based backup to Acronis Backup & Recovery with disk-based backup.

The backup upgrade formed part of an ongoing server virtualisation project at the 240-employee company, which has three UK data centres. It currently runs 102 physical servers, of which the majority will be virtualised by the end of 2012. Most are Windows-based but the company also runs Oracle, Sun, Microsoft Exchange, SQL and key financial business applications.

The migration from a physical to a virtualised environment as well as massive data growth meant the time taken to complete network backups was becoming a concern, with each full backup taking five days to complete using its existing Symantec tape-based backup solution. Data recovery was also a problem, typically taking a few days to restore a server from bare metal.

After evaluating and testing products including Symantec Backup Exec, Symantec NetBackup and solutions from CA Technologies, The Funding Corporation decided on Acronis Backup & Recovery 10, which backs up to an Overland N2000 SnapServer. The upgrade has cut backup times from five days to 12 hours and the Acronis product is also being used to migrate data to the new virtualised environment.

Dan Tinsley, principal systems engineer at The Funding Corporation, said, “Acronis offered a smooth integration with VMware, which is key as we move into a virtualised environment. The speed of a bare metal recovery was also impressive as was the functionality that Acronis offered as standard.”

NetApp goes to the zoo

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has implemented NetApp storage as part of a project to virtualise servers and implement an effective disaster recovery provision which saved £20,000 in server room space.

ZSL is the charity that runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, which attract 1.5 million visitors per year and has £42 million turnover. It has 500 members of staff and runs ticketing, retail, catering and reservations systems that would damage business severely in case of unplanned downtime. To avoid such an eventuality it decided to move from 37 physical servers, all at its London site, to a virtualised environment with redundant systems across two sites.

Nick Napier, head of ICT at ZSL, said, “We knew our disaster recovery wasn’t as robust as we needed it to be. We also knew it wouldn’t be feasible to implement a disaster recovery solution at either site without consolidating the existing servers first.”

After engaging integrators S3 Consulting the original server estate was consolidated into three virtualised blade servers on VMware vSphere with a NetApp FAS 2000 series running RAID 10 at each site with mirroring between them. The organisation now has full redundancy between sites and has avoided paying £20,000 for a new server room.

Balesio launches new version

Balesio has announced the latest version of its flagship product FILEminimizer Suite. Version 7 of the native file optimisation software allows IT administrators to maximise email storage capacity and network bandwidth by automatic compression of unstructured data in attachments on the fly. FILEminimizer Suite reduces the size of files such as images or PDFs by up to a fourth of their original size with visual quality and functionality unaltered.

Tape storage still key, says Overland survey

Tape storage is still a key part of IT strategy and is used by most UK businesses, according to a survey commissioned by Overland Storage. The key finding from the survey of 1,000 UK businesses conducted by Vanson Bourne was that the vast majority (83%) still use tape storage systems to back up and protect their business data. The most common use case for tape storage is off-site backup (70%), while a large proportion (61%) relies on tape for on-site backups. Meanwhile, 43% cited archiving as the third most popular use case, while more than a third (34%) have turned to tape-based solutions to ensure compliance with data retention regulations. A large segment of respondents (28%) still utilise tape for near-line storage.

Virtual instruments splices with Splice

Virtual infrastructure optimisation and testing provider Virtual Instruments has announced a technology partnership with the Splice Group, a European provider of Fibre Channel management solutions designed to improve network resilience and speed of communications in data centres. By combining Virtual Instruments’ SANInsight TAP Patch Panel System with the Splice Group’s bespoke cassette systems, the two companies aim to simplify SAN monitoring for tactical troubleshooting and proactive performance, capacity, and cost optimisation.

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