SA Cancer Council consolidates storage, virtualization

Less administration and training requirements

Managing three different types of backup systems proved to be an unnecessary headache for Cancer Council South Australia which has rolled everything with an automated application.

The Cancer Council South Australia's (CCSA) IT manager, Michael Hutchesson, said the organization had a mixture of ARCserve, Backup Exec, and Amanda which had their own interfaces and staff training was required for each.

"It was getting difficult to manage long term," Hutchesson said.

CCSA installed software from CommVault to replace its three existing systems.

"CommVault allowed me to backup all the systems and do restores with one interface," he said. "The reason we put in CommVault was to get a single interface."

At the same time the CCSA went from individual drives to a Quantum tape loader. Its disk infrastructure consists of 3TB of EMC CX300 and EMC CX3-20.

Its operating systems are NetWare, Windows 2000, 2003 and 2008, and FreeBSD for firewalling.

"CommVault takes care of all its security updates and everything is policy driven," Hutchesson said. "It's a different concept to Backup Exec and ARCserve so once you get your head around CommVault its easy to use. CommVault has the retention period on tape covered well. It just works. We don't miss backups or have failed backups so I don't have to worry about backups."

Hutchesson said the CCSA has put the software to the test with constant requests to restore data and he has restored an Exchange database, SQL servers, and NetWare boxes.

The CCSA has also joined the ranks organizations leveraging virtualization technology to reduce its server count and perform application testing.

"We use VMWare ESX 3.5 and are using CommVault agents to backup some of the virtual machines," Hutchesson said, adding there are about 20 VMs in total.

"The idea of being able to clone a system to make some test changes and roll it back is fantastic. We have a lower power and air conditioning bill. I personally carted boxes out of our server room never to return again."

The 20 VMs are across three physical hosts and prior to the consolidation IT decommissioned seven physical machines.

It now uses HP DL380 servers and "HP must have had an issue with the power supplies in those boxes as we replaced about five", according to Hutchesson.

The CCSA is now implementing Oracle on demand CRM (from the Siebel acquisition) and is looking to replace its Fujitsu PABX with a modern unified communications system.