South Lanarkshire moves to IBM XIV disk storage platform

South Lanarkshire council has invested in an IBM XIV disk storage platform as part of its move to virtualisation.

South Lanarkshire council has invested in an IBM XIV disk storage platform as part of its move to virtualisation.

The IBM XIV environment supports email, file and print and virtualised line of business applications to minimise downtime.

The council chose IBM XIV for its resilience. “Unlike our legacy platform, we can carry out updates and reconfigure the solution while in production, which eliminates the complexities associated with scheduling downtime,” said Janice Woodley, technology services manager at South Lanarkshire Council.

The platform provides virtualised storage and load balancing. “This maximises utilisation but enables greater flexibility and reliability,” said Woodley.

South Lanarkshire partnered with Computacenter to upgrade from its IBM DS4800 system to the new IBM XIV disk storage platform. The council signed a three-year extension with the company in July 2011 to manage the council’s 5,000-strong leased desktop estate and server and storage environments.

Woodley said many public amenities – from libraries to leisure centres – rely on the systems hosted by its back-end server and storage infrastructure.

 The platform has a 27-terabyte capacity. Line of business applications hosted virtually and supported by the storage platform include: parking management, online booking system for box office events, councillors information system and electoral voting management system.

The council has since implemented an additional XIV device in its secondary datacenter for testing, development and pre-production, and plans to move all major applications to the XIV platform eventually, reserving its legacy DS4800 device for archiving.

 “We’ve been moving to a virtualised environment and this fits in really well with that.” She says this has reduced space in the datacentre and could enable the organisation to offer its excess space to other public sector organisations.

“We’ve not spent money on the infrastructure other than the XIV. Instead we’ve sweated assets, we purchased good quality servers that has stood the test of time.

Through the move to virtualisation the council has reduced the number of servers from 130 down to four.

As cloud applications are become more mature, the council will look at it as an alternative, said Woodley. “We would of course look at cloud in the next upgrade. Some of the environment is coming to point will have to look at upgrading those aspects.

“We are using the money we have got wisely and investing in pertinent areas, not just about server environment, but in the network and desktop environment too. We are also looking at desk top virtualisation to see if more money could be [saved] there. Other key areas are mobile working,” she said.

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