Natural History Museum


The Natural History Museum eases the pressure with Backup Manage from Tectrade

The Natural History Museum (NHM) in London is one of the world’s foremost resources for natural science, with magnificent collections and groundbreaking research expertise. The organisation currently stores around 60 TB of data, encompassing everything from email and administrative documents to research data, scientific images and audio-visual media. This figure is set to grow rapidly as NHM builds its node of the Biodiversity Heritage Library –a global project to digitise scientific books and associated metadata, for which NHM is the European hub. The organisation is beginning to import some 70 TB of data from the US, and is also steadily adding its own data.

“Managing the growing backup environment was already putting pressure on our internal team, and we knew that we were facing a very significant hike in data volumes,” says Gavin Malarky, IT Manager, the Natural History Museum. “We had built a separate SAN for the Biodiversity Heritage Library data, but everything was linked in to our Tivoli backup environment, which was becoming too complex for us to manage with our limited in-house resources. You really need to dedicate time and effort to building up expert skills in Tivoli, and we’re simply too thinly spread across a number of technologies to be able to do that.”

Hands-off solution

Tectrade now handles all administration for the Tivoli environment, and provides dashboards of backup success rates and other key performance indicators. This allows NHM to focus on top-level strategic management while Tectrade handles the operational aspects.

“Tectrade proposed taking all responsibility for managing the Tivoli set up, and they were able to offer genuine expertise and extremely high service levels at a known monthly cost per terabyte,” says Gavin Malarky. “As a small organisation, it would be impossible for us to justify building up internally the deep Tivoli skills that the Tectrade consultants have. Instead, we can focus on other areas, deciding on the strategy for backup and trusting Tectrade to execute it faultlessly.”

Tectrade also supports NHM’s disaster recovery planning through its DR Assist offering. This allows the organisation to test its plans for data recovery using equipment in Tectrade’s data centre, and provides expert advice to help NHM create a workable recovery plan. The time saved on administration – both for the Tivoli environment itself and for the related software licensing – and the switch to capacity-based pricing mean that the managed service from Tectrade is less costly overall for NHM. It also gives the organisation a better level of service, backed by a large pool of certified Tivoli experts that the NHM would not be able to justify maintaining internally.

“We already had excellent service from Tectrade, and they have further optimised our Tivoli set-up as part of the new contract,” says Gavin Malarky. “The streamlining they’ve done will help us to stay within our backup windows even as the data volumes grow. The capacity-based licensing enables us to predict costs accurately, success rates for backup are very high, and we no longer need to invest heavily in Tivoli training – the BackupManage solution from Tectrade is proving a great success for us.”


With data volumes growing rapidly, the Natural History Museum (NHM) wanted to reduce the complexity of its backup processes, free up staff from routine administration, and simplify its software licensing arrangements for IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM).


By selecting the BackupManage service from Tectrade, NHM gained expert protection for its data and released technical staff to focus on other areas. Tectrade provides round-the-clock monitoring and management, reports key performance indicators back to NHM and handles all administration for the TSM environment.


Switching to a per-terabyte pricing model for data has simplified licensing for NHM, which can now freely expand its virtualised server environment without adding Tivoli costs. As well as eliminating time spent in-house on routine maintenance, NHM is saving on staff training costs and now has access to deeper Tivoli skills.