Kent Police nabs Acronis for physical and virtual backup

Kent Police slashes backup window and restore times with Acronis, replacing multi-supplier systems as part of disaster recovery project

Kent Police has revamped its backup systems with Acronis Back-up & Recovery software that has allowed it to cut backup windows from several days long to 16 hours.

Data recovery times on the mixed physical and virtual server backup environment are now down from three days to less than one hour.

Kent Police previously had multiple backup and recovery platforms including Asigra, CA ARCserve, Symantec Netbackup and Syncsort. The force has to protect more than 500TB of data from command and control, and business critical systems for 6,000 staff across a mix of more than 500 physical and virtual servers. Under that regime, full backups often took several days to perform while restores would take up to three days.

So, as part of a wider disaster recovery (DR) project the force evaluated backup tools that could provide mixed physical and virtual server back-up from one interface, with DR capabilities and granular recovery of files.

Andy Barker, ICT director at Essex and Kent Police, said: “We required a tool that could backup all our infrastructure using one common interface and could support VMware, Linux and Microsoft platforms and also perform bare metal restores.” 

Kent Police purchased 140 Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 physical server licences, plus 25 virtual edition licences to back up around 20TB a day from the virtual machine hosts and the VMs on them, at its main datacentre and DR site on a regime of daily incrementals, weekly full back-ups plus some replication.

It has also opted to use data deduplication technology within Acronis Backup & Recovery that shrinks back-ups by up to 80%. Barker estimates that data deduplication alone will save at least £13,000 a year in storage capacity costs.

Acronis Back-up & Recovery is a midrange backup software product that competes with applications such as EMC’s Avamar, CA ARCserve and Symantec Backup Exec. Midrange back-up products are generally characterised by enterprise level features, including mixed physical, virtual and cloud support but with ease of use aimed at organisations with smaller IT teams.

The catalogue and search capabilities in Acronis Backup & Recovery give Kent Police granular restore access, so a corrupted, deleted or lost file can be recovered individually. The team also plans to use Acronis to help during system upgrades by taking server images that it can roll back to if issues occur.

Barker said that following the deployment at Kent Police, he also expects to roll out Acronis Backup & Recovery at the Essex Police force. “This is part of a wider strategy to form a combined IT department, pool resources for greater efficiency and cut IT costs for both police forces even further,” he said.

“We needed to cut costs and using this solution has allowed us to use fewer high availability systems and cut costs of expensive hardware, power consumption and space. We now have the ability to recover any backed up physical machine to our VMware platform in minutes, or with some systems we have a cold copy ready that is incrementally updated.”


Read more on Data protection, backup and archiving