Insurance Commission of Western Australia

Server environment re-architecture creates greater speed and flexibility

About Insurance Commission of Western Australia

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA) is a statutory authority that was established and operates in accordance with the Insurance Commission of Western Australia Act 1986. With approximately 350 staff, the Insurance Commission provides motor vehicle CTP insurance, RiskCover and Risk Management services.

“With the re-architectured environment, we saw immediate results. Server deployment time has gone from weeks to just hours and we now have adequate storage to accomodate forecast data growth.”

Mark Lutai
ICWA Network Infrastructure Team Leader

The situation

Since mid-2008, ICWA IT have engaged Empired to assist with developing a more agile infrastructure that is able to better cope with growing and changing business needs. The pressures on ICWA IT for delivering systems had overburdened their data centre. Networking, storage, power, air conditioning and physical real estate demands were becoming a real problem. Empired offered an alternative approach to data storage that would leverage the growing virtual server environment and provide improved management and recovery procedures, key to ensuring an agile infrastructure.

The solution

As a NetApp Authorised Professional Services Partner, Empired was able to offer a team of experienced storage consultants to help ICWA re-architect their server environment leveraging NetApp Storage Controllers, IP based storage and server virtualisation technology. To get the most out of ICWA’s virtual environment, over the past two years Empired has deployed a number of NetApp solutions to help them manage their environment more efficiently. With the move to this new architecture, ICWA has seen immediate results. Server deployment time has gone from weeks to just hours with improved performance and better storage and network utilisation.

The solution implemention included:

  • SAN rollout over VMware, Linux, AIX and Oracle environments
  • Empired helped ICWA in becoming the first customer in WA to run VMware on NFS
  • With Empired’s help, ICWA implemented de-duplication on Storage Array, receiving up to 60% on production volumes
  • Updated the Disaster Recovery SAN
  • Upgraded to 3140 systems to implement Compliance for all historical archive records, implement disaster recovery, leveraging NetApp application integration with VMware and Oracle
  • Extended NFS footprint from VMware into Oracle environments

"With NetApp SAN we now have more flexibility to act on changing business needs; whether it’s additional environments, storage for backups or improved recovery options.”

Mark Lutai
ICWA Network Infrastructure Team Leader

“Before implementing our NetApp SAN we had neither the space nor agility to provision storage for development or test environments,” said Mark Lutai, Team Leader, Network Infrastructure. “We now have more flexibility to act on changing business needs; whether it’s additional environments, storage for backups or improved recovery options.”

ICWA are now finding that commissioning new environments, testing upgrade paths and server backup and recovery are simpler, helping the business achieve its goals. By utilising server virtualisation complimented with NetApp tools, ICWA now have more flexibility in deploying environments that have better management and recovery options. With Empired’s help, ICWA have been able to decommission over two thirds of their physical servers, within the first five months of deployment.

ICWA’s Finance system for instance, sits on an Oracle environment. By implementing automated Disaster Recovery of these critical Oracle environments using NetApp SnapManager, ICWA will substantially reduce recovery times and risk.

The results

  • Achieved server consolidation ration 8:1
  • Increased Storage Utilisation through NetApp Virtualisation
  • Increased Storage Utilisation through de-duplication by 60%
  • Improved application speed and availability
  • Reduced data centre power costs by 50%
  • Reduce priority to upgrade to UPS, saving $1 Million
  • Reduced server provisioning times from four weeks to one hour

The deployment environment

  • Running VMware 3.5 on 2 IBM Blade Centre H Chassis
  • FAS 3140 with 10TBs running iSCSI, NFS and FCP
  • Guest OS includes Novell NetWare, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, Windows 2003 Server
  • Snap Manager for Oracle and VMware
  • Policy driven DR using Protection Manager

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