Dundee City Council is responsible for delivering a comprehensive range of services, from education to social work, for some 144,000 citizens, funded by a total budget of around £370 million.
The Council has approximately 5,000 users of its systems, predominantly thin-client connections via terminal servers to centralised applications and a large storage area network (SAN). The data, much of which is highly confidential, totals some 60TB. Applications reside on diverse platforms, including IBM System z mainframes, UNIX and Linux systems, and Intel-based servers, supported by databases such as Oracle and Ingres.
Tim Simpson, IT Support Manager, explains, “The data includes sensitive information from departments such as child protection and social work, as well as commercial and financial transactions and email records. We were using IBM Tivoli Storage Manager to control backup processes and were aware that we were not exploiting the product fully. Where we did have suitably trained staff, they were better deployed on other pressing matters.”
“From a user point of view, with a complex IT landscape like ours, the per server licensing model was almost incomprehensible,” says Tim Simpson. “We were constantly having to work out the licensing position, a drain on limited IT personnel time. Tectrade proposed that they would take over management of the entire backup process, switch to a capacity licensing model and improve our backup success rates into the bargain.”
Tectrade offered to provide a fully managed backup service that would include specific service level agreements, and reporting management to show compliance with government targets and data protection obligations. To prove the case, Tectrade ran a four week trial. During this brief demonstration period, backup success rates improved from 70 to 80 percent.
As part of the BackupManage service, Tectrade switched to a capacity licence model for Tivoli, which enabled a fixed-price offer per GB of data over a three year contract period. This arrangement allows Dundee City Council to plan its backup costs with absolute certainty and shows a 47 percent saving over the three contracted years.
Working with Tectrade, backup success rates have climbed into the high 90 percent range and comprehensive reports show the Council exactly how the backup is performing. The Tivoli software is able to back up both physical and virtual machines.
“The backup-as-a-service approach saves time and, importantly, proves compliance with regulations,” says Tim Simpson. “The capacity licence is renewed annually depending on our total requirements, which means just a simple business decision on what we need, and the licence fee payable.”
Jim Gorman, IT Project Section Leader, comments, “The Dundee and Tectrade staff work well together and our overall experience has been excellent. If Tectrade see an issue, they call right away and if anything they chase us to take action.”
Tim Simpson adds, “In addition, changing from an in-house to a managed service also gives us out-of-hours cover and we no longer have to work out which of the staff will be available at evenings and weekends.”
Tectrade and Dundee City Council are working on the next phase, looking at how Tivoli can be used to provide enhanced disaster recovery services and how it can be extended to data held on external systems. For example, more than 100 schools currently rely on physical transfer of tape backup. Tectrade is examining how costs can be reduced, and security and reliability increased, by introducing a remote backup service for all the schools, using the existing Tivoli landscape.
“With Tectrade running our backups, our job is now principally to set the service levels and load the tape drives,” says Tim Simpson. “Everything else is handled for us, and at a lower cost than before.”
With 60TB of data and 5,000 users, managing successful backups was an ongoing challenge for Dundee City Council. A complex IT environment led to low backup success, and advanced functionality available within Tivoli software was not being exploited by a hard-pressed IT team.
Dundee City Council selected Tectrade’s BackupManage service with agreed service levels. Tectrade moved the Council from a per server to a capacity licence model for the Tivoli Storage Manager software, offering a fixed price per GB over a three year contract period.
The service offering has cut the per GB storage cost by 47 percent and allows the Council to plan its future budgets with increased certainty. Backup success rates have increased from a low of 70 percent to more than 98 percent. All business critical systems and data are now incorporated in the automated backup regime.