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NetApp Alta Vault: Choice and control for backup

During NetApp’s Insight 2015 conference in Las Vegas, one of the storage vendor’s customers, King County government from the state of Washington, shared about their successful transition to Netapp’s Alta Vault solution, ultimately saving USD100,000 in cost overall. Ranked the 14th most populous county in the United State, King County and its 15,000 employees serve 2 million in population and 17 major agencies.

Bob Micielli, Enterprise Technical Services Manager for King County, painted the IT and data reality for the county stating that they have to back up over 20 terabytes (TB) of data, on a daily basis.

Why so much? There is voice data, court records that have to be stored for over 90 years, not to mention geographic information system (GIS) data and a whole lot more that the county and its population generates, every day.

Micielli added as example, “Every two years, we spend around USD2 million to fly a plane that would capture images of our geography, and we keep these images forever.” That’s about 11 TB of data.

Not to mention, King County’s IT has to be able to keep 3 days worth of cache or ‘hot’ data, so that data requests and retrievals can be quick.

Micielli said, “With this legacy infrastructure, we just couldn’t keep up with demand.”

Benefits now

Alta Vault’s ability to seamlessly integrate with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s Azure, was just one of the reasons King County selected it. Besides that, it could be used with backup software solutions like Networker and Veeam.

After implementing Alta Vault, besides saving over USD1.1 millIon in refresh costs, and saving annual operating expenditure up to USD300,000, the backup process for King County growing data needs, is now automated. “We took out the tapes, we took out the tape library… the manual labour of backing up over 2000 tapes a year, and more, is now all gone.

Backup errors have also reduced 84% from 72 errors a day to 12 errors a day, said Micielli. “A tape jam could take 8 hours to resolve!”

Missing piece

Lee Gates, Director of Data Fabric Group at Netapp, said, “Netapp is investing for a secure hybrid cloud with choice and control.”

While Netapp Private Storage (NPS) and Cloud Ontap provide backup for ‘hot data’ needed for tier-1 workloads, Alta Vault really provides backup of ‘cold’ data to different clouds.

Gates described, “It completes the missing and needed pieces for (our) Data Fabric technology to move data to the environment that customers need.”


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