Customer Story: City of Bossier City – Disaster Recovery

Providing future-proofed protection for mission-critical data at Bossier City with SPHiNX virtual tape solution

Company Background

Located along the east bank of the Red River in Northwest Louisiana, the City of Bossier City is a growing metropolitan area with more than 62,000 residents. Diverse attractions in the area include Barksdale Air Force Base, home of the Air Force Global Strike Command, Eighth Air Force, 2d Bomb Wing and 307th Bomb Wing, as well as a unique mix of retail shops, restaurants, cultural attractions, casinos, and horse racing. Bossier City features a mild climate, ample housing, a low tax base, and offers easy access by several major highways. To learn more, visit www.bossiercity.org.

Concerns

Maintaining efficient, day-to-day operations with a limited budget is crucial for local government organizations whose customers include thousands of citizens, city departments, and economic stakeholders. “It’s all about the numbers,” said Roy Proctor, senior technician at the City of Bossier City IT department. “You’re either trying to save more data, run backups faster, improve network performance, or cut costs to fit a budget.” Making the numbers “work” is a constant challenge for every IT professional, not just Proctor.

Data with no expiration date was growing at an increasing rate for the City of Bossier City. Routine backups were running past their allotted windows, and restoring data proved a complex, time-consuming process. As a result, this stressed Bossier’s existing storage systems. Rapid data growth demanded more scalable storage for Bossier’s vital information, especially because most of the data had to be maintained indefinitely.

Resource consolidation and a limited budget constrained Bossier’s adoption of new technology, but the need to protect and preserve critical government information could not be ignored. Bossier needed an affordable solution to fit its tight, government-allocated budget, one that would streamline data protection and maintain the availability of long-term information.

Solution

Bossier partnered with CMA Technology Solutions and Crossroads to solve its data backup, protection and long-term preservation challenges. The first solution, Crossroads StrongBox, provides scalable, low-cost data preservation, while the second solution, Crossroads SPHiNX, improves data backup within Bossier’s existing IBM iSeries environment. Both solutions fit seamlessly into the city’s existing infrastructure, delivering tangible benefits only days after installation.

Proctor maintains the city’s critical data for more than 500 systems, including sensitive government documents for which there is no limitation. According to Proctor, “We aren’t keeping these files just for 10 or 20 years; we’re keeping them indefinitely.” Having data easily accessible and portable is also crucial as city departments need quick access to archived content. Crossroads deployed StrongBox for Bossier as a scalable, low-cost solution for long-term data preservation. StrongBox is a network-attached storage (NAS) device that reduces overall datacenter costs and simplifies long-term retention of fixed content and unstructured data, such as PDF documents, images and video.

With the long-term archive now under control, Bossier also needed to improve backups for the data that remained on high-performance servers. Proctor, with 15 years of experience in Bossier’s IT department, needed a more efficient strategy for backup of their IBM iSeries midrange servers that already included IBM libraries with LTO tape. With increasing amounts of backup data, processes exceeded their allotted backup windows, compromising network availability for other city operations. CMA deployed the Crossroads SPHiNX virtual tape solution to automate and streamline backup processes in Bossier’s IBM i environment.

SPHiNX meets specific requirements for mid-range servers and open systems due to its unique features, such as support for physical tape and flexibility as an alternate IPL device. Before SPHiNX was deployed, an IT administrator had to physically swap out LTO tapes as physical backups ran, which proved time consuming. With SPHiNX, the process from start to finish is virtual, automatic and transparent. While physical backup tape is still needed to meet compliance regulations, SPHiNX allowed Bossier to reduce the physical tape by almost 70 percent.

Benefits

After CMA deployed SPHiNX, Bossier experienced a 30 percent reduction in the time needed for daily backups.

SPHiNX has really helped improve the speed of our backup operations – there’s almost no comparison to our previous method of using physical tape. SPHiNX makes recovery about 100 times faster, which means less downtime so that I can get people their data almost instantly.

Roy Proctor, Senior Technician at City of Bossier City IT Department

Because Proctor serves more than a dozen city departments, finding the time and the means to fulfill all of their data protection requirements proved challenging. By automating back up processes with SPHiNX, Proctor can now safely execute backups seamlessly from one centralized location, ensuring that city departments will be able to access vital information in the event of a natural disaster. And now, Proctor can focus on mission-critical initiatives without slowing down to worry about tedious, manual processes. SPHiNX delivers faster backups for complete data protection and reliable disaster recovery. For Bossier, this means more efficient IT operations, which ultimately allows the city to better serve its residents and citizens.

 

*Extracted from a Crossroads Success Story. Read the original story here. 

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