Kent Police pick San for back-up, explore virtualisation

Kent Police have bought a £120,000 EqualLogic storage area network from Infrasys to manage "exponential growth" of the force's data storage needs. Not only is it saving incremental costs now, but the force expects the system to pay for itself within five years.

Kent Police have bought a £120,000 EqualLogic storage area network from Infrasys to manage "exponential growth" of the force's data storage needs. Not only is it saving incremental costs now, but the force expects the system to pay for itself within five years.

Infrasys secured the business through the Office of Government Commerce Catalist framework supplier Probrand.

Kent Police is using the 30 terabyte installation as back-up. It may go on to use the technology to store live data on its operational systems as part of a wider virtualisation programme.

Project manager Jon Edwards-Moss said 6,000-user Kent Police began evaluating its future storage needs in late 2005. This showed "frightening exponential growth that our present technology could not have coped with", he said.

The subsequent comprehensive market review and evaluation of available technologies and applications led to the purchase decision in November 2006. The delay was to our advantage because costs dropped, said Edwards-Moss. "Even now we still have not implemented everything we want to."

Edwards-Moss added that new business requirements drove the increase in demand for storage. "We need to retain data such as e-mails to respond to Freedom of Information requests. This is driving a lot of the demand, but there are new databases and big new systems with more users too."

The new systems include expansion of automatic number plate recognition systems and closed circuit video. These follow last month's London and Glasgow car bombs.

More sharing of data will also affect storage needs. "We have not scoped it yet, but that will come in time," said Ian Robinson, Kent Police's technical manager.

Kent Police hopes the new San will reduce its dependency on tape storage. However, that may need changes to the regulations that govern archive material.

Kent Police presently has seven servers of its more than 200 physical servers attached to the San.

Edwards-Moss said performance was better than expected, "It ran pretty much out of the box, transfer speeds are equivalent to locally-attached storage, scalability is built-in, there are no restrictions on cable lengths compared to traditional physically-attached storage, meaning that, bandwidth permitting, we can site units wherever we like."

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