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Case Study:

Data Center Buildout and Migration

Background

IT and the business saw the need to improve the recoverability of business functions within the firm. The firm had a primary Tier 1 data center (~3,000 sq. ft.) and a small data center in a branch office approximately 250 miles away. Not all systems and data could be replicated. Management decided to build a new combined Data Center and Business Continuity “warm” DR site.

What We Did

A site was selected 42 miles from the primary data center (co-located with corporate headquarters). The site was on a different power grid and met all the qualifications for a Tier 3 data center. In the spirit of making the business more resilient and recoverable, the new (~5000 sq. Ft.) data center became the primary data center and the original data center became a DR data center. IT infrastructure staff were located at this site. The space was also used as Business Continuity space.

The opportunity of a data center buildout was leveraged to upgrade and rearchitect systems, storage, and networks within the data centers. New hardware was purchased and 1GB WAN connectivity was established between data centers, allowing for real-time replication of data.

Application developers and database administrators were engaged for the application and data migration. These projects were phased based on the installation and movement of hardware.

What We Achieved

Hardware for the new data center was faster and had more capacity. Combined with a 10x network bandwidth, users received at least 20% performance improvement in application and file sharing performance. All systems were now replicated, dramatically improving the recoverability profile. Clustered, highly available systems combined with real-time data replication eliminated the possibility of data loss during an outage. The data center was architected with planned expansion and has since been expanded to 8,000 square feet. In addition to a location for the primary data center, the site now contains more IT teams and some business teams.

Summary

Industry: Financial Services
Scope: Corporate-wide exposure, with $160M annual IT spend
Impact: System reliability and business recovery dramatically improved, faster systems and network access, reduced software license and real estate costs
Duration: 1.5 years design/implementation; 1 year migration

Harvard Partners Skillsets

  • Business process engineering
  • Project management

Technologies

IBM, Sun, EMC, NetApp, Avaya, Cisco, IPC, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint

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Harvard Partners brings practical solutions to strategic IT issues in a collaborative and engaging manner. We inspire excellence from IT organizations by identifying opportunities for improved performance, minimizing risk, and training and coaching staff.