The infrastructure, which has been implemented in time for London's biggest ever year: mayoral elections in May, the Jubilee celebrations in June, and the Olympics throughout the rest of the summer, will allow the GLA to get their IT systems fully up and running in four hours compared with the more than three days that it had previously taken.
During the 2008 mayoral elections, a burst water main in nearby Tooley Street cut power supplies to City Hall just a week before the elections and caused major disruption. Over the past two years the GLA has taken on more responsibilities and a range of new services, which has resulted in a sixfold increase in data volumes. As well as increasing the GLA's resilience, the new infrastructure reduces costs and provides greater flexibility. It is estimated that the new infrastructure will save the GLA £90,000 a year, providing full payback within four years. If the GLA ever has to invoke its disaster-recovery systems for real, the cost would be recovered instantly.
"With our new infrastructure, we're as close as we can get to having a big red button that says 'in case of emergency, press'," says David Munn, Head of GLA Information Technology. "I sleep easier at night knowing that we can get our services back within half a day."
The new design incorporates FalconStor® storage-management and replication technology together with low-cost, energy-efficient Nexsan E60 disk-storage systems. It replaces a system that was previously based on backup to magnetic tapes. The FalconStor solution virtualises the GLA's storage environment and replicates it across a shared metropolitan area network to Transport for London's data centre in Woking. That's where the Nexsan E60 storage hosts the GLA's replicated environment. Virtualisation means that the storage network can be managed from a single interface. If there's a disaster, FalconStor's RecoverTrac™ technology automates recovery of the entire IT environment within hours.
"We've given the GLA an infrastructure that's much easier to use, and much more flexible," says Ryan Smith, Sales Director at Cristie Data. "Their enterprise-capacity licence means they can add more storage and data on demand, accommodating future growth without any business disruption and they can store their data on whatever storage platform that they like"
David Munn adds: "The GLA is in a much better position. We're able to provide the response that London requires if something unexpected happens. And we have opportunities that were not open to us before. Since there's an established shared service culture in London, we could perhaps offer hosted services to other administrative organisations."
About The Greater London Authority (GLA)
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is a strategic and delivery authority with a London-wide role to design a better future for the capital. The GLA's Technology Team, based in City Hall, provides IT support for the Mayor's Office, the London Assembly, and the GLA's staff. In recent years, the Technology Team has assumed responsibility for increasing volumes of critical data relating to the GLA's growing administrative remit.
Cristie Data (cristie.co.uk) provides data storage, management, and protection systems to a wide range of industries. Cristie, which is based in Stroud, is a vendor-independent specialist in systems that improve infrastructures, save costs, and increase business flexibility. Cristie won the contract to supply the GLA through open tender. The company has subsequently worked with the GLA on another data-storage project.
Nexsan Technologies provides a comprehensive range of enterprise-class, efficient, and easy-to-use storage solutions. Nexsan's hardware and software products combine cost-effective performance with power and space-efficiency, density, ease of use, scalability and reliability. They provide highly efficient storage performance and functionality.
FalconStor Software develops innovative, scalable, and open-network solutions that optimise the storage, protection, efficiency, and availability of enterprise data and applications. FalconStor solutions, which are available from leading system integrators and resellers worldwide, provide data protection for an era of exponential data growth and ever-expanding retention periods.