Worcester County Sheriff’s Office
One of the largest county sheriff’s offices in Mass. consolidates IT functionality and ensures watertight backup and disaster recovery with SimpliVity’s Data Virtualization Platform.
A sheriff’s office serving one of the largest counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts might be a surprising place to find state-of-the-art IT technology, but the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, serving 550 full-time and part-time staff and running a variety of mission critical applications including Public Safety Jail Management Software, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint, prides itself on leveraging technology to enable operational excellence. For about six years, the office had been running on a legacy HP infrastructure comprised of 16 servers and multiple, complex SANs. Tuning the environment for performance was a complex task. Backup “best practices” were not being followed and the office’s data center footprint was large, generating much waste.
Under the leadership of Worcester County Sheriff’s Office CIO Maurice Myrie, the veteran IT team sought a solution that delivered high availability and performance and would ensure efficient, cost-effective functionality for the employees and citizens relying on it.
Technology Refresh, Data Protection, and Data Consolidation
For years, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office had been operating on an outdated DIY IT infrastructure. The IT team was running all of its operations on a 16-server, legacy HP infrastructure with a complex, expensive SAN and storage. The small team in IT was forced to cope with a large data center footprint that was complex to scale and manage and had no automated backup and DR capability whatsoever.
In addition to dealing with the outdated, cumbersome legacy infrastructure, the IT team was operating under the constant threat of major data loss. With no service level agreements implemented for RPOs and RTOs within its infrastructure, the office’s mission critical applications were always at risk.
“We had the data protection software, but there was no back end—there was no server or SAN capacity for data protection—it was just piecemeal,” said Myrie.
Myrie and the rest of the team realized that having adequate backup and DR for all data and VMs was a must moving forward. It was clear that a technology refresh was needed and the small IT team of five began its search.
After evaluating a new and improved HP solution, Myrie and his team were approached by Corporate IT (Corp IT), a reseller of OmniCube, SimpliVity’s Data Virtualization Platform. On advice from the Corp IT team, Myrie decided to evaluate OmniCube and found it to be a significantly more cost-effective, efficient solution than its HP equivalent.
“I was looking for new HP blade technology just based off recommendations and research—we’ve had HP here,” said Myrie. “But with the HP blade server, two switches and a 30TB SAN—and then the bodies to come and do the work—it would have cost us well over $230,000.” This solution did not include off-site data protection and DR.
According to Myrie, the OmniCube hyperconverged infrastructure was able to cut that number in half and provide offsite data protection and DR, making the technology refresh fairly painless for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. “Once I saw OmniCube with its capabilities and cost, this was a no-brainer.”
The office installed three OmniCube CN-3000s across two separate on-campus locations in West Boylston. Currently, everything is located on the OmniCubes with the exception of two physical servers. Before the switch to a Data Virtualized Platform, the office’s data center had housed three fully utilized racks. Since the implementation of OmniCube hyperconverged infrastructure, the IT team has consolidated down to one rack in the data center.
“We’re talking about three racks—full—bottom to top, down to one,” said Myrie. “We’ve consolidated down. We went from about 16 odd hosts down to three OmniCubes. That speaks to itself.”
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has seen significant improvements in its backup and DR capabilities as well. Backups for all VM-based applications and data now happen on a daily basis using OmniCube’s built-in, reliable policy-based data protection. In addition to local backups the sheriff’s office also sends remote VM backups to another OmniCube in a remote data center (see data center views below). This built-in, self-protection is included with OmniCube and leverages unique inline deduplication, compression, and optimization of all data generated globally by the VM applications running on all OmniCubes. Full VM restores now happen in minutes regardless of the size of the virtual machine. With OmniCube’s broad scope of functionality and automated backup features, key applications like the Jail Management System are backed up daily with no risk of data loss.
Today, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is enjoying a consolidated data center with plenty of room for future growth and a hyperconverged infrastructure that is manageable and meets the needs of its mission critical VMs used by its employees daily. For half the cost of the alternative HP solution, Myrie and his team now have a hyperconverged infrastructure that integrates seamlessly with their existing VMware applications and provides them with fully automated, policy-based data protection and DR across multiple sites. With the technology refresh complete, Myrie said that he can now “sleep at night” knowing that the office’s critical data is safe and its infrastructure is truly virtualized.
Key benefits include:
- Improved backup and disaster recovery capabilities
- Daily RPO’s with RTO’s in minutes for all applications regardless of VM size
- Reduced data center footprint for energy savings via hyperconverged infrastructure
- 75% reduction in memory utilization eliminating need for performance tuning
- 90% reduction in server infrastructure
- Elimination of management complexity and reduction of vendors to manage
- Affordable consolidation of IT functionality