New Zealand Bank banking on SAN virtualisation strategy

Kiwibank has acquired new HDS SANs to assist with its virtualisation strategy, but has not consolidated SANS, instead buying single-purpose arrays.

Kiwibank has acquired Hitachi Data Systems’ Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) 2500 storage system and the company’s Universal Storage Platforms (USP VM) as part of a disaster recovery and SAN virtualisation effort. The plan will not result in SAN consolidation, instead matching applications to their own SANs to lessen risk and reduce worries about resources being shared by many stakeholders.

Kiwibank was founded in 2002 and uses nearly 300 post offices for its retail presence, as its parent company is New Zealand Post.

The SAN has been installed in the Bank’s new Auckland production site, a facility Ron van de Riet, the Bank’s General Manager for  IT and Business says was needed to improve the Bank’s disaster preparedness.

“We are based in Wellington and had localised disaster recovery,” van de Reit told SearchStorage ANZ. “The big thing for us was that might not be enough if we were hit by a big earthquake. So we chose to put a new production facility in Auckland: there are better data centres there than in Wellington.

“To do that we had to clean up our environment. That meant virtualising everything.”

That process uncovered the fact that the Bank operated several SANs.

“Having disparate SANs meant that our systems were not being used to their full capacity, leading to numerous cost inefficiencies and outages associated with transferring data between the systems,” van de Riet said. The Hitachi USP VM now manages all the Bank’s SANs, reducing management overhead.

But while the Bank has virtualised, it has not consolidated SANS.

“We bought four SANs,” van de Riet explained. “One is for shared applications like e-mail and file storage. Another is for the core banking, treasury and payment applications.”

“We decided to keep it split because operating one shared arrays has caused problems in the past. A lot of our growth is not in key systems like banking: it is in n mail, information for reporting. That is where you get a high level of change with more disk to add and so on.”

“Sharing a big sAN sounds really nice, but we feel you can have too much on one system and too many stakeholders on one system.”

“We want to isolate high criticality from low-criticality and that’s why we went for a high-tier, small-volume model.”

Van de Riet said the decision to work with HDS on the project was technology-driven.

“The difference in HDS that I like is that it is an engineering company, not an IT company. They really understand what high availability means.”

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