Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS, part of the Volkswagen Group of companies) is one of the largest vehicle financing companies in the UK, offering financial services products to around 800 automotive outlets of the Volkswagen Group including Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
VWFS was running two data centres in Milton Keynes supporting 450 internal staff and providing application support through to the UK retailer networks. Compliance and other financial regulations, such as the Financial Services Act, made adherence to high availability and tight disaster recovery planning a necessity for the IT Department.
The key objective was to gain capacity and flexibility while ensuring high availability of mission critical servers, which were previously protected via a mirrored recovery solution. If a critical server went down, it had to be individually rebuilt from the second copy, which had the same problem built in.
It soon became apparent that in order to achieve true cost-effective high availability, the best option would be to deploy a dedicated virtualised Storage Area Network (SAN) with central management, auto failover & auto recovery. VWFS are a long-standing customer of Form, and with Form’s help, a Datacore solution was implemented. After meetings and discussions with Form’s Technical Team, VWFS decided upon an HP ProLiant BLc460c Blade environment with HP MSA30s to form the SAN. Datacore’s SANMelody was used to virtualise the existing storage mechanism and bring all the attendant benefits. After a proof of concept, and thorough testing process, all data was migrated onto the new set up.
The Result and Benefits
Within just a few weeks, VWFS found that storage was much easier to manage. There was no more forward speculation needed, or guessing about the amount or size of disk or partitions required. Server availability has been dramatically improved, with any restoration taking minutes rather than hours a cessation of the mirrored disk problem. Performance has improved significantly. Because of the way SANmelody utilises its own caching technology rather than committing to disk, it’s able to improve 90 per cent of the applications.
The cost benefits were significant and after just three months, the SANmelody solution had paid for itself. Server virtualisation has been a huge success for VWFS in business, administration and cost benefit terms and now forms the cornerstone of a larger business continuity plan and the fulfillment of greater internal Service Level Agreements.
“A painless, straight forward SAN experience with what has to be classified as a major infrastructure change.”
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