Recently, St. John Ambulance began working with HP reseller partner Metafore IT Solutions on a transition to a virtualized environment using VMware vSphere 4.0. As the company moved applications into this virtualized environment, it was apparent that a VMware cluster with centralized storage would offer the scalability needed to easily adapt to changing business needs while ensuring continuity.
The organisation evaluated various options for centralized storage, including solutions from EMC. Ultimately it chose HP LeftHand P4500 Storage - a virtualized iSCSI-based storage solution - and HP ProLiant DL380 G6 servers to run applications such as its file servers, e-mail server, Active Directory server and Linux applications.
The network RAID feature offered in HP LeftHand Storage enabled St. John Ambulance to protect multiple copies of data and eliminate a single point of failure, allowing continuous availability of business-critical applications.
Thin provisioning, an efficiency technology that increases overall storage system utilization, enabled the organisation to easily set up servers without overprovisioning dedicated storage capacity, as the system automatically uses only the space it needs. The HP LeftHand snapshot feature provided the ability to roll back an application configuration for quick restore, with a minimum of capacity required.
"One of the biggest benefits delivered by HP LeftHand Storage is the cost savings that results from elimination of extra software licenses typical of competing storage solutions. HP's solution provides for enough redundancy, computing and storage power to meet our needs in one system", stated Joe Zasada, manager, Technical Services, St. John Ambulance. "We get enterprise-level features, but not the enterprise price - and it scales so easily we can grow without worrying about redesigning everything from the ground up."
St. John Ambulance discovered that the setup and management of its new storage environment was surprisingly simple, offering 99.999 percent uptime with a clustered configuration, and a major reduction in management time. In addition, rapid download and installation of storage upgrades reduced maintenance costs and enabled St. John Ambulance to expand its storage network on the fly.
HP LeftHand Storage ensures business continuity. Features such as multisite storage area network (SAN) availability can stretch a single system across two sites by assigning storage nodes in the cluster to different locations. This provides cost-effective high availability with failover and failback across sites.
"To facilitate the delivery of innovative first aid services and training, St. John Ambulance needed to refresh its storage network with a solution that was easy to deploy, scale and maintain", stated Jeff Wilson, national sales manager, Storage, HP Canada. "HP LeftHand Storage delivered enterprise functionality that enhanced their virtual environments, simplified management and reduced costs, while ensuring their crucial business data remained available."