Storage goes under the knife for Ambulance Service of NSW

Ambulance Service of NSW has consolidated its storage environment into a virtualised architecture created by Actifio.

Ambulance Service of NSW (ASNSW) decided it needed to overhaul its data storage solution when it realised that data backups for its 300 sites were taking 20 to 22 hours every weekend to complete.

ASNSW also had six tape libraries that were scheduled on a fortnightly basis to perform full backups to capture ongoing 15-minute snapshots of the organisation's services.

Dushan Tatic, ASNSW technology services manager, said at the Actifio Copy Data Forum in Sydney on Wednesday that data flowed from all parts of the business, but a majority of it came from the fleet of 1,500 vehicles that were transmitting data from billing information to data captured from electronic equipment such as defibrillators.

"The main challenge for us to really consider was how to organise our backup and restore process. We wanted to improve our business continuity. We also wanted to reduce our complexity and growing costs," he said.

Tatic added that a new process system was critical, given that 92 percent of the organisation's 5,000-plus employees are clinical and required to have constant access to stored data.

"You need to provide storage, provision the servers, and all the support. For example, when we checked our backups, we only had 1.6 full-time employees working on it. We always have to make sure backup is there," he said.

Another challenge ASNSW was facing was in handling archives dating back to April 1995, which meant that it would often take up half a day for data to be restored, Tatic said.

As a result, the organisation engaged with Actifio to set up a virtualised architecture split across two locations. The first location is a production site in Rozelle that copies structured and unstructured data to the disaster-recovery location based in Eveleigh.

Tactic said the move with Actifio resulted in the consolidation of its storage environment and the elimination of tapes and multiple libraries.

Tactic said that an added bonus to the overhaul was that it created "a positive climate for new projects".

"This helped us reduce operation downtime, improve business continuity, disaster recovery, and ultimately lets people do other things and work on projects, and not spend time on reruns," he said.

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