“We are delighted with our new transformation strategy. Thanks to Cetus Solutions, the issue of storage has been resolved, with plenty of capacity for years to come. It was originally only to support the applications team, but it improved productivity so much that we had to expand it to the rest of the company.“
CDL is a software provider for some of the UK’s biggest insurance retailers. Based in Manchester, the company develops trend-setting software that has ensured that its reputation for competitive and innovative solutions keeps it at the forefront of the industry. Employing over 600 staff, including 150 developer roles, the main issue facing CDL was its data storage. Having used NetApp storage technologies for many years, CDL was experiencing performance problems due to the increased demands and workloads from their ongoing success. The company needed to refresh its storage environment in order to support several significant customer wins, while also accommodating future growth.
“We have a really good relationship with Cetus Solutions, they have a lot of knowledge. This is bolstered by really good support from NetApp. We have a 3-year support contract and we’re going to automatically renew this because even though we rarely use it, when we do the support is fast, responsive and informed.”
Dan Calderbank, Senior IT Engineer.
Knowing that a radical approach to the storage challenge was needed, CDL charged its IT provider, Cetus Solutions, to find a solution. Included in the brief was to review the business issues, workload assessments and CDL’s infrastructure to ensure a complete overhaul of the company’s IT and revolutionise this going forward. Having reviewed the issues that CDL was facing, and taking into consideration what the company wanted from the new solutions, Cetus Solutions created a design solution using NetApp and VMware.
It was decided that the NetApp AFF8000 systems would provide a platform for business expansion with raw performance and stability. Cetus Solutions is a NetApp Gold Partner, which was essential to this project, successfully implementing NetApp All Flash FAS throughout CDL. The solution included state-of-the-art features such as maintenance, software and hardware upgrades which were an improvement on the previous solution.
Since increasing effective capacity was a priority, the NetApp AFF offered a wider range of storage efficiency technologies including deduplication, compression, thin provisioning and cloning. This enables data storage without taking up any more physical storage space than needed.
“We clearly made the right decision by choosing the All Flash platform to support our underlying infrastructure. We’re only using 10 per cent of its resource out of the box which gives us enormous head room for growth while its storage efficiency features such as data compression lead to even faster read and write times. It’s just what we needed and is fundamental to our successful business growth.”
Dan Calderbank, Senior IT Engineer.
Transforming workstyles to improve scalability, flexibility and collaboration
Originally, the NetApp All Flash FAS implementation was only to support of the application team, delivering performance and capacity benefits to enable integration testing, design work, code builds and non-functional requirements such as high availability. The implementation was so successful and popular that the CDL server team also adopted the platform for their own needs. The new solution also made automatic database clones simple, when they had previously been done manually.
This improvement assists the developers to quickly and easily look at database snapshots in the last 24 hours, which boosts their development work. This has also reduced the time it takes the helpdesk to identify and resolve issues from one week to only a day. Since CDL has two self-built data centres, the solution ensures a more robust failover in the event of a disaster. NetApp’s SnapMirror duplicates data being stored to CDL’s primary location to a secondary location to maximise disaster recovery.