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Building a healthy storage array

Hamish Barwick | Oct. 1, 2014
A poorly configured SAN was stifling innovation at Montefiore until an equipment and data overhaul was enacted, reports Hamish Barwick

A storage area network (SAN) crash two years ago was the catalyst for a long rebuild process at Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home.

The NSW-based organisation has been providing people with aged care services for more 120 years and operates sites in Hunters Hill, Woollahra, Randwick and Maroubra.

Sir Moses Montefiore CIO's, Bruce Coller, said the old SAN network was already in place when he started at the organisation two years ago.

"They had made a decision to go with an HP LeftHand SAN but the way they had set the SAN up, combined with a bug in the firmware, meant that even if you deleted information, the SAN didn't recognise that deletion," he said. "The SAN filled up to a point where there was no more capacity and it crashed."

According to Coller, IT staff could not even log in to the network and his team would have to call HP support services to recover the SAN.

After looking at a range of options and conferring with Nimble partner Huon IT, Coller decided to go with Nimble CS220G storage combined with Veeam backup and replication.

He explained that Montefiore has several "significant" storage requirements. For example, it operates a number of perimeter based close circuit TV (CCTV) cameras at its sites and aims to keep 50 per cent of the data recorded.

"That presents challenges around how much data we keep from movement activated cameras," Coller said. "Then we have to decide what frame rate we want to capture at because the storage requirements for 30 frames a second are just mind blowing."

"If we're reducing the frame rate, we have to do policy decisions covering the retention of that information."

Montefiore also needs to store data about staff for up to 30 years. Coller said it needs to keep records for this long to avoid potential litigation.

"Having the high performance storage in Nimble along with additional shelves to provide additional capacity means we are better placed to meet that monitoring need."

Coller considered using hosted services but was not convinced these services were "mature enough" for mission-critical data.

"I want to have a strategy of a hybrid cloud and local environment: I want to keep critical information locally and outsource to a cloud environment where there is a business case and risk analysis done on that information," he said.

"We have already started thinking about using private cloud. We are currently rolling out a training service called iTraining and we see an opportunity to use something like Amazon [Web Services] as a repository to host training videos and make that available to stakeholders."

Now that the organisation's storage problem has been fixed, Coller is looking to improve Montefiore's telecommunication services including data, fixed line and mobile services.

 

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