Systems integrator EACS has just completed the implementation of a virtualised disaster recovery and business continuity infrastructure at CHS Group, based on NetApp storage and Microsoft virtualisation software.
The catalyst for the project was an internal audit highlighting the need for CHS to upgrade its business continuity systems; its existing processes were limited to overnight backups stored in the same central location.
Michael Cloete, ICT manager, CHS Group, said, “We approached a number of companies that specialised in the design, development and implementation of disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. Although several appeared able to meet our requirements, we felt that EACS fully understood the particular requirements and budget limitations of a registered charity.”
EACS’ proposal was based around two NetApp virtual storage systems with mirrored disaster recovery at a separate location and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 for server virtualisation. Microsoft’s preferred pricing for charities was also a factor in CHS’ decision.
The project included upgrading CHS to Active Directory 2008 (from 2003) and Exchange 2010, rationalising the existing Citrix farm of 21 servers, and installing Microsoft’s Threat Management Gateway.
Commenting on EACS’ support and helpdesk services, Cloete said, “Support was a core consideration for us as we needed enough knowledge transfer to allow us to become self-sufficient in some aspects of the system.”
Cloete concluded, “In the event of a complete failure, the system will allow key staff to carry on working. With 7,000 people living in our properties and a further 2,000 reliant on our community care, support and investment services, it is vital that we are always available.”
CHS Group, previously Cambridge Housing Society, comprises CHS Homes and CHS People and manages around 2,500 homes. The EACS project at CHS began in 2010 and was completed in March 2011.