Monday, 7 April 2014

Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance modernises its storage infrastructure with DataCore Software Defined Storage

The “Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze” (the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, MEF) located in Rome has deployed DataCore’s SANsymphony-V solution to improve productivity and modernise its mission-critical IT infrastructure. The DataCore software-defined storage platform has been implemented to centralise storage management and improve the utilisation across a wide range of storage hardware systems and devices from different vendors including EMC and HP. DataCore consolidates and simplifies the provisioning of storage resources, significantly accelerates performance and adds high availability and a new level of flexibility to the existing mix as well as to future storage additions.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance, also known by the acronym MEF, is one of the most important and influential ministries within the Italian Government. It is the executive body responsible for economic, financial and budget policy. The organisation manages the planning of public investments, coordinates public expenditures and verifies its trends, revenue policies and the overall tax system. The MEF operates the State’s public land and heritage, land register and customs; it plans, coordinates and verifies operations to foster economic, local and sectorial development, and is responsible for setting out cohesive policies, processes and the requirements pertaining to the public budget.

As part of the project to optimise and consolidate IT data centres, MEF selected DataCore’s software-defined storage solution with the primary objective of preserving their existing and very diverse set of storage investments made over many years - comprising a range of systems from EMC VMax, EMC Centera to HP EVAs. In addition, it was critical for MEF to streamline and centralise management in order to gain productivity and to provision highly available storage capacity when needed, where needed quickly within minutes.

After evaluation of a number of industry solutions, MEF decided it needed to implement the DataCore storage virtualization as the best fit for their various and demanding requirements. MEF’s decision for DataCore’s Software-defined Storage approach was based on a number of factors, one being that SANsymphony-V transforms storage into an enterprise-wide resource that can be pooled and used more efficiently than hardware-driven SAN approaches where each storage system creates a separate inefficient island of storage. The DataCore software importantly also optimizes overall utilisation and makes storage provisioning dynamic and automatic – a rapid process versus a time consuming and complicated task that in the past often took days, if not weeks, to accomplish.

SpeedCrew technology partners, an authorised and trained DataCore software solution provider with a highly skilled team and a long history of IT field experience, designed and implemented the project. SpeedyCrew deployed DataCore SANsymphony-V on four standard x86 server platforms, providing redundancy and data protection together with centralised management of over 200TB of storage across multiple EMC VMax and EMC Centera and HP EVA systems. MEF also will benefit from the addition of high end advanced storage features including thin provisioning, metro-wide mirroring, high speed adaptive caching, replication, auto-tiering, all of which can be applied their existing and future storage investments.

For high availability and business continuity all relevant data is synchronously mirrored across buildings and departments between the DataCore nodes. When one server is down, the remaining nodes take the workloads (auto-failover) until the system is up and resynchronised (auto-failback) automatically. To accelerate the performance of the underlying hardware, DataCore leverages the Random Access Memory (RAM) in each node. This allows for fast ‘in-memory’ high speed caching to accelerate the workloads for MEF’s business critical applications. DataCore has also made it easy for MEF to scale out and grow dynamically in the future by allowing it to add storage hardware of their choice of vendor, model or technology including flash SSD resources when they may be required.

"We chose DataCore because we wanted a solution that would allow MEF to modernise and virtualise our storage and IT infrastructure without being locked- in to specific hardware vendors or technologies. This gives us flexibility, scalability and freedom in our choice. SANsymphony-V allows us to use the most appropriate and innovative offerings on the market and makes it easy if needed to grow or adapt our environment to meet future requirements. DataCore not only reduces our storage related costs by consolidating management, it enables us to buy less expensive hardware and it also enables us to protect our existing investments. Moreover, the Software-defined layer in our infrastructure gives us flexibility to optimize whatever we use and puts us back in control to shop storage for the best value to allow us to cost-effectively deal with growth”, comments the information systems team at MEF.

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