Kent Police revamps physical and virtual data backup

Kent Police has revamped its backup systems to provide a fast, flexible and efficient disaster recovery and data protection system to protect more than 500TB of data created, stored and used by its 6,000 employees.

Dec 20, 2012
By Paul Jacques

Kent Police has revamped its backup systems to provide a fast, flexible and efficient disaster recovery and data protection system to protect more than 500TB of data created, stored and used by its 6,000 employees.

The new back-up and recovery software from Acronis has allowed the force to cut backup time from several days to less than 24 hours while data recovery times on the mixed physical and virtual server backup environment are now down from three days to less than one hour.

Kent Police previously relied on multiple back-up and recovery platforms to protect data across a mix of more than 500 physical and virtual Windows®, Linux and VMware® servers. 

Andy Barker, IT director at Kent Police, said: “Regular bomb threats, protests, cyber attacks and viruses are just some of the reasons why we needed a more robust but easier-to-manage back-up and recovery plan. With ready access to data a critical requirement throughout the force, we also had to drastically cut previously slow recovery times.”

The new backup and recovery software is a unified solution for data and application databases backup that dramatically reduces the management burden of procuring, learning and integrating additional products as networks evolve, thereby reducing time and cost with one solution that can be managed across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

Kent Police purchased 140 Acronis Backup and Recovery physical server licences as well as 25 virtual licences to back-up the virtual machine (VM) hosts and the VMs on them. It also opted to use data de-duplication technology in the solution to shrink backups by up to 80 per cent. Not only does this save space needed for backups, initial testing indicates that recovering data, a task that used to take up to three days with the previous solution, can now be accomplished within the hour. Kent Police estimates that de-duplication alone will save at least £13,000 annually in storage costs.

The catalogue and search capabilities in the software give Kent Police granular restore access, so a corrupted, deleted or lost file can be recovered individually.

The IT team can drill down to file level, pick out the necessary file and recover it, usually in a matter of minutes. With its migration capabilities, the team also plans to use the back-up and recovery software whenever a system needs to be upgraded. By taking a full image of the system prior to any upgrade, the IT department can simply rollback the server to its original healthy state if the upgrade goes wrong for any reason.

Mr Barker said that following the deployment at Kent Police, he also expects to roll out Acronis Backup & Recovery at Essex Police.

“This is part of a wider strategy to form a combined IT department, pool resources for greater efficiency and cut IT costs for both police forces even further,” he said.

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