Datacom NSW Saves One Council More Than $100,000 on Data Centre and Disaster Recovery Costs

In 2010, Woollahra Council in Sydney sought a refreshed data centre environment and disaster recovery solution. Some of the council’s goals included improved server management and monitoring and a better production environment with an eye toward greener IT in the form of reduced energy consumption. The council also needed to build a new DR infrastructure.

Early on, Datacom was able to set itself apart from the competitors, according to Saleh Nabil, Manager Information Systems at the Council. During the proposal process, Datacom “focused on the production environment solution and disaster recovery environment at a competitive price,” he said. “This was an immediate differentiator as Datacom aligned to our direction and thoughts.”

The challenges

Woollahra wanted to streamline its IT production and disaster recovery environments while reducing future infrastructure costs. The 24 physical servers at the council added a maintenance and monitoring burden to network administration; it was also taking the IT staff about a month to provision a single new physical server. In the production environment, too much downtime was occurring during system replication. In addition to tackling these areas, the council wanted room to expand its data centre infrastructure in the future.

The solution and benefits

Datacom was able to decrease the number of Woollahra’s physical servers from 24 to four. As these servers cost $5,000 to $10,000 to refresh every three years, Woollahra will be able to save between $100,000 and $200,000 on this investment. In addition, the new virtualised environment now allows council IT staff to provision new servers in four hours instead of four weeks. The council’s IT department can now better monitor the systems being used in areas such as hardware performance and undertake preventative maintenance when systems are underperforming.

The Datacom solution enabled Woollahra to remove two data centre racks, which leaves space for any possible expansion efforts in the data centre. Datacom was also able to help the council move towards its green initiatives by enabling power and cooling efficiencies while reducing overall management overheads. To ensure optimised performance, Datacom provided ongoing support services and continual checks on the data centre environment, such as configuration enhancements and recommendations.

The specifics

When Datacom won the Woollahra contract, they set to work designing and implementing a virtualised data centre environment and end-to-end disaster recovery solution. As part of this transformation, Datacom installed new production server hardware and core production network equipment to address the issues of excess downtime and used the replaced hardware to set up disaster recovery infrastructure. A backup and recovery plan was established to support the critical servers in case of an outage. The solution relied upon HP Blade Technology, HP Systems Insight Manager/VMware vCentre and HP Multi Node P4000 SAN.

“Datacom facilitated a discussion with HP regarding commercial viability, and because HP was in the process of marketing this particular product, we were able to achieve a very good deal to buy it,” Nabil says.

In the end, Woollahra was happy with the solution from start to finish. “Datacom were very patient with us during the pre-sales and pre-planning process in terms of coming up with the right solution for the council,” Nabil says.