READING, UK. 16 May 2007. Volkswagen Financial Services (UK) Ltd, (VWFS) has selected DataCore?s SANmelody solution to provide a dedicated virtualised Storage Area Network with central management and auto failover & recovery to protect its business critical data, that?s growing 300% year on year.
VWFS is one of the largest financial services companies in the UK; offering financial services products to around 800 automotive outlets of the Volkswagen Group, including Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. VWFS employs 450 staff and loaned over £1 billion of financial agreements in 2006. VWFS is running two data centres in Milton Keynes supporting 450 internal staff and providing application support through to the UK retailer networks. Compliance and other financial regulations, such as the Financial Services Act, make adherence to high availability and tight disaster recovery (DR) planning a necessity for the IT Department. Their previous DR plans involved two mirrored recovery sites with continuous replication to support the networks 100 servers; all running their own SATA direct attached storage. The system was flawed in that if a failure occurred, each server had to be individually rebuilt. Also, with no management, VWFS had to allocate each server the correct amount of disk space. Mike Duxbury, Senior Networking Specialist, VWFS noted:-?We recognised that immediate savings could be gained with a DataCore virtualised SAN as it would only allocate the disk space that was needed and we could simply replace or plug in more disk; whereas in the past we?ve had to over-allocate disk space and partitioning requirements.?
To meet their requirements of central management and auto recovery, Premier Computer Supplies tendered two HP servers running DataCore?s SANmelody 2.0 virtual infrastructure solution that would robustly support Microsoft Virtual Server applications. From a hardware perspective SANmelody is truly agnositic, so VWFS decided that the existing HP MSA 20 SATA enclosures should be re-deployed within the SANmelody solution to hold the mirror volumes from the remote site and re-utilised all existing SATA drives. It was selected to virtualise the existing network storage because of its auto recovery features and its ability to centrally provide capacity on demand, reducing administrative efforts and improving utilisation of existing capacity.
Mike notes that it wasn?t long into the installation that SANmelody was put to the test, ?As a result of disk failure, one server which went offline but SANmelody?s auto-failover function kicked in, switching the servers to the mirrored site and began to seamlessly rebuild the volumes in the background. The failing server was rebuilt within minutes ? all with minimal intervention from the team.?
A few weeks later SANmelody demonstrated its value again, a 3 hour power failure breached the UPS and threatened the loss of all the servers at the second data centre site. But as soon as power resumed, SANmelody kicked in and automatically began to rebuild the volumes from the primary site.
Overall, within the first three months of operation, VWFS noted that storage is easier to manage with optimal utilisation of available disk and servers are now highly available and better performing. And there are tangible cost benefits that already outweigh the initial cost of the SANmelody solution. No longer does VWFS have to rely on costly local storage ? the virtualised infrastructure has allowed blade servers (with half the price tag) to replace traditional servers.
?A painless, straight forward SAN experience with what has to be classified as a major infrastructure change.? Mike Duxbury, Senior Networking Specialist, Volkswagen Financial Services.
Notes for editors
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About Volkswagen Financial Services Limited
Volkswagen Financial Services Limited (part of the Volkswagen Group of companies) is one of the largest vehicle financing companies in the UK, offering financial services products to around 800 automotive outlets of the Volkswagen Group including Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. VWFS employs 450 staff and loaned over £1 billion of financial agreements in 2006.
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