Wealth management firm Towry tackles spiralling data volume

Wealth management firm Towry has acted to improve control of its spiralling data volumes by implementing a new virtual storage system from Compellent.

Towry has 21 offices employing 800, with teams of wealth advisers located around the UK. The firm was not only facing a 20 percent organic year-over-year data growth, but also dealing with a recent 200 percent data growth spurt due to the integration of acquired firm Edward Jones.

Towry said it needed a flexible, automated and scalable storage system to keep up with the data growth, automatically managing data at a granular level. It also needed to enhance its disaster recovery capabilities and improve the performance of key business applications.

With the company’s previous storage system running at just 8 percent utilisation, performance of key applications, particularly Microsoft Exchange, suffered, it said. Towry needed a different storage solution that would efficiently manage data at the block level.

Towry has chosen the Compellent Fluid Data storage system to help build a virtual IT infrastructure. Using Compellent "automated tiered storage" technology and server virtualisation from VMware, Towry expects to cut its overall physical hardware by more than 70 percent, and achieve energy savings of up to 50 percent. 

The automated tiered storage feature allows the firm to move at least 80 percent of its data onto low-cost SATA drives, saving thousands of pounds in future capacity upgrades. This feature was particularly attractive for a business that is required by law to keep the bulk of its data available and accessible at all times.

Adam Nielsen, IT manager at the firm, said the Compellent automated tiered storage capability was a major part of the decision to choose the system. He said, “We didn't want yet another storage solution that needed to be ripped out and replaced in a few years. The Compellent architecture gives us an affordable way to scale our storage to meet the precise needs of our business over the long term."

In addition, he said, because the firm can keep all its inactive data online, it has eliminated the cost of purchasing an additional archive system. For primary storage, Towry has deployed a Compellent Storage Center SAN at its data centre in Slough with 54 TB of storage.  Of this, 40 percent is high-performance FC storage for active data, and 60 percent is cost-effective SATA storage for inactive data.

A second 53 TB Compellent SAN, with a 25 percent FC and 75 percent SATA configuration, has been deployed for disaster recovery purposes at Towry’s head office.

To address the previous issue of poor capacity utilisation rates, Towry is using a Compellent "thin provisioning" feature to deliver the highest enterprise storage utilisation possible, by eliminating pre-allocated but unused capacity. It expects usage rates to leap from eight percent with the previous system to more than 80 percent with Compellent Fluid Data.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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