Lancaster University

The Challenge

To implement a robust, high quality and scalable storage and backup solution to support its business applications and research data storage for at least the next five years.

The Solution

Best-in-industry capabilities were installed across all areas using HNAS and HUS 150, with backup-free architecture put in place for high-performance NAS research data using HCP.

Outcomes

Improved access to research data, accelerated performance, increased scalability and reduced costs through virtualised environments, creating a reliable, future-proof infrastructure, designed to scale as they grow.

Hitachi Data Systems Research-Data Storage Solution gets high marks from Lancaster University.

Addressing ever increasing data demands

As one of the United Kingdom’s top 10 universities, Lancaster University is a research-led institution with an ambitious strategy to become truly globally significant. The university required a robust, high quality and scalable storage and backup solution to support its business applications and research data storage for at least the next five years.

The existing infrastructure was approaching full capacity and unable to continue supporting its growing data demands. The NAS environment (provided by EMC) was reaching maximum capacity and did not have a non-disruptive route for expansion of its research data storage. The existing EMC backup hardware had also reached end of life, and the backup window and tape quantity as at the practical capacity limit.

Delivering improved flexibility and availability

In partnership with Hitachi Data Systems, we utilised the National Server and Storage Agreement framework to provide a solution for Lancaster University that covered SAN, NAS and backup environments.

Migration was completed in two phases, and two separate NAS platforms were proposed for each main data type: user and research data. For cost efficiency, Lancaster University’s user data is now stored in Hitachi NAS Platform (HNAS) with intelligent tiering based on access frequency. To ensure scalability and reliability, research data is stored in a virtualized Hitachi Content Platform (HCP).

HCP is ideal for the management of business-critical information and utilises Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS): HUS 150 via HUS VM. To provide a high-performance gateway and ensure fast file retrieval and additions, research data is presented via HNAS to users with Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) across the two data center locations.

With the university’s current environment composed of about 90% virtualized infrastructure, the optimal solution was to consolidate all data into the virtualized HUS VM, a competitive, cost-effective solution that delivered flexibility and scalability. Best-in-industry capabilities were installed across all areas using HNAS and HUS 150, with backup-free architecture put in place for high-performance NAS research data using HCP.

High-performance, resilient technology

Upon installation of HDS solution, a benchmark test proved its high-performance capabilities, superseding IOPS requirements by 250%. The difference was highly notable as end-user services greatly improved, allowing students, faculty members and administrative staff to work more efficiently, access required services, and maximise use of the research data produced by the university.

Due to virtualisation and advanced flash technology, Lancaster University has accelerated application performance and reduced costs. The university also manages capacity and services more efficiently. To meet government guidelines, data retention was important and Lancaster now has the flexibility to support its projected data growth over the coming years.