Central & Cecil has centralised its storage and moved to a virtualised technology infrastructure from Scale Computing to support future growth and rationalise a fragmented IT environment resulting from frequent mergers.
The housing provider started work in October 2010 with consultants IP Protocol, with the goals of reducing operating costs and ensuring better management of its IT environment. The first step was to address storage and server challenges by using server virtualisation and a new storage platform to host the virtualisation.
Omer Zaim, head of IT, Central & Cecil, said, “Our rapid expansion across a number of UK sites meant that we needed a flexible and scalable storage solution that could cope with our changing demands and support our move to a virtualised environment.”
IT Protocol recommended a scale-out storage cluster from Scale Computing. This would let Central & Cecil consolidate its NAS and SAN needs onto a single storage system. Zaim said, “In contrast to scale-up storage, Scale’s storage solutions are scale-out, which lets us buy storage as and when we need it. This lets us modernise our system and implement a better-performing and more efficient storage solution.”
Scale Computing’s storage clusters are powered by its Intelligent Clustered Operating System (ICOS) technology, with a cluster comprising three or more storage nodes working together to present a single storage pool. For Central & Cecil, an initial 3Tb of storage was deployed at its Waterloo site in London with an extra 3Tb quickly added to the cluster via three 1Tb nodes for additional capacity, extra caching and more network data paths to the storage.
Zaim said, “The shared central storage solution has the breadth to support our expansion plans, increase control and support our virtualisation, plus it was significantly cheaper than alternative solutions. We estimate that our storage and virtualisation project will result in operational costs savings of 50 per cent through the avoidance of replacement costs.”
The next stage of Central & Cecil’s project will add another 3Tb of storage at a secondary site and leverage snapshots and replication of the storage cluster to a second cluster at a remote office.