Swansea Building Society

Swansea Building Society was founded as a mutual Building Society in 1923. The Society’s mission statement is ‘to maintain and enhance its reputation as an independent fi­nancial institution in Wales’, and at 31st December 2010 it held total assets exceeding £183m, controlled over 9,000 savers accounts and 1,250 mortgage accounts. The Society is one of only three remaining mutual Building Societies in Wales and is the only Building Society or Bank that has its headquarters in West Wales.

Swansea Building Society had reached a point where there were two storage issues that needed to be urgently addressed. Their existing storage equipment had reached ‘end-of-life’ and was due to be replaced. The company were also opening a new branch and while the premises for the new branch were perfect in terms of generating trade, they only provided limited space for hosting the equipment used for disaster recovery.

The incumbent storage and disaster recovery solution used more than twenty servers and ­ve racks; it was simply not possible to move this into the small room in the new branch that was to be used to house the equipment. With the branch already committed to moving to the new location due to its commercially advantageous position, this left the Building Society with a big problem with the storage of their Disaster Recovery equipment.

The Building Society also had issues with its current disaster recovery policy. Their infrastructure included several standalone servers that, if they failed, would cause signifi­cant issues to their ability to recover all of the lost data and to continue to do business in a timely manner. As a business that has critical data that is required to provide important front-line services to its customers, Swansea Building Society needed to ensure that their disaster recovery policy was as robust as possible to ensure business continuity.

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Our new office location was absolutely perfect for the business but it had given us a real problem when it came to housing our Disaster Recovery solution. We knew that we had to make a change to be able to take full advantage of the position of our new branch. The ANS NetApp and VMware solution has meant that we have comfortably fitted in to our new premises, saved money and improved our Disaster Recovery capabilities. Chris Young , Systems Administrator, Swansea Building Society
  • ANS installed FAS2040 NetApp storage and replicated this using VMware to consolidate the physical servers onto a virtual server environment.
  • This combination of technologies has reduced the amount of racks required from ve to just two by using thin provisioning, de-duplication and virtualisation.
  • Using a combination of dual-disk protection with RAID-DP technology and a fully redundant storage system.
  • This combined with VMware features such as VMotion and high availability, Swansea Building Society are now guaranteed continuous provision of services to their customers.
  • NetApp SnapManger tools provides two key benefits: they allow the society to move away from traditional backup.
  • Minimises backup windows, whilst providing the basis for a simplified and more robust disaster recovery strategy.
  • Disaster recovery is now automated with VMware site recovery manager integrated with NetApp storage. The society can take backups and replicate instantly to the disaster recovery site.

Features and Benefits

The reduction in rack space and required servers has solved the issue that arose from the lack of space in the new office and has meant that the Society are able to comfortably run their Disaster Recovery solution from the new premises and reap the business benets of its more desirable location.

The combination of NetApp and VMware has also meant that the Society is saving money on its power and cooling requirements. The Disaster Recovery process has been hugely improved with the Society now able to instantly replicate and backup its data. Previously they were reliant on single points of failure that would have caused signicant problems should there have been an incident. They are now able to quickly and fully restore all systems in the event of an IT problem.

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