Carlisle City Council needed to safeguard its e-mail data more effectively to ensure rapid recovery if a disaster or human error occurred. The council replaced an HP solution with a cost-effective deployment of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007. As a result, the council now backs up all e-mail messages every 15 minutes as opposed to once a day. In addition, data recovery now takes place without any downtime.Business Needs
Carlisle City Council, located in a flood plain in Cumbria, provides public services to 100,000 people living in the city and surrounding area. Carlisle is a forward-looking local authority that seeks to improve public services through information and communications technology (ICT), including sharing the management of IT services with a neighbouring council. In 2008, the council migrated its communication and collaboration technology to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, but it soon became clear that it needed a faster and more reliable solution to safeguard its e-mail data and recover messages in the event of a disaster or human error.
David Strong, IT Infrastructure Engineer, Carlisle City Council, says: “With some past experience of disaster recovery—especially after flooding in Cumbria in recent years—the council is highly risk averse. Our existing data protection system HP Data Protector was unable to manage large volumes of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 log files, and was only capable of backing up the system once a day.”
With increasing demands from staff to use e-mail for critical work, Carlisle City Council needed a robust and reliable solution so that mailboxes could be recovered quickly in the event of a fault in the infrastructure. The council also needed an improved backup system for its corporate intranet, which was using Windows SharePoint Services.
In addition to around 800 staff within the council itself, Carlisle provides IT services to voluntary organisations in the district. The council is currently merging its IT team with neighbouring Allerdale Borough Council, which has 400 employees, as part of its support for the government shared services agenda. By sharing services such as human resources, and payroll, local authorities can achieve savings and free key people for higher value tasks.Solution
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Risual—the council’s strategic adviser for IT for the past four years—managed the migration to Exchange Server 2007. With its help, Carlisle City Council decided to replace HP Data Protector with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 Service Pack 1. Richard Proud, Co-Founder of Risual, who’s responsible for service delivery and operational excellence, says: “The Microsoft toolset makes it much easier and faster to recover data from the Exchange Server 2007 archive and gives secure long-term protection of multi-agency data held within SharePoint. The service level agreements on disaster recovery could be substantially improved without any need to take the service offline.”Benefits
Carlisle City Council was already using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 before replacing HP Data Protector for mailbox protection from viruses, spyware, and malware. Proud says: “On our advice, Carlisle City Council has deployed three out of the five technologies in the Microsoft System Center family, offering a highly secure and efficient solution that’s scalable enough to integrate new users from other local authorities.”
Deployment took place in just six weeks due to the ease of integration with the council’s existing Microsoft IT assets. Proud says: “The solution secures the SharePoint information on disk and tape for an extended period of time. However, it captures data at a much lower level than was possible with the previous tools. Not only does it easily restore the complete system in the event of failure, but restoration of single documents and items is much easier to manage with the Microsoft solution.”
Carlisle City Council can now offer its internal customers—as well as other local authorities—unmatched backup and recovery services for e-mail messages and documents stored in the corporate intranet system. By using System Center Data Protection Manager, the council now backs up all its user data every 15 minutes instead of daily, ensuring business continuity. Strong says: “Previously, we’d have to go off site to get a tape from our backup storage. This could take up to half a day. With the Microsoft data protection tool, this takes just 10 minutes, and we still maintain an off-site backup storage system.”
- Council staff enjoy 24-hour uptime. With the previous software, recovering data from Exchange Server could potentially have resulted in at least a day’s downtime for every user in a department. Strong says: “Data Protection Manager moves only the byte-level changes of the file servers it backs up, which means we no longer have to have any downtime.”
- Microsoft Enterprise Agreement absorbs licensing costs. With all councils under pressure to make savings, the total cost of ownership of Data Protection Manager was lower for Carlisle City Council than any alternative solution. “Our Microsoft Services Enterprise Agreement for Volume Licensing gave us a cost-effective solution with very little investment and avoided any ongoing third-party support,” says Strong.
- Technicians spend less time on backups. With the Microsoft solution, the technician time needed to manage backup and recovery has been reduced by up to 75 per cent, thereby freeing IT staff for higher value work.
For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit: www.microsoft.com/casestudiesThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published March 2010