Lending group upgrades to carry heavy data load

Protection for confidential customer info

Specialist lender, the Bluestone Group, has undertaken a storage upgrade to meet data growth rates of more than 200 percent per annum.

Bluestone CIO, Pierre de Villecourt, said the majority of the group's data is confidential including customer information.

"It is critical that this information is extremely well protected from a privacy, legal and compliance perspective," he said.

At the same time, employees, brokers and agents needed instant access to the data.

"We needed a watertight data storage facility to accommodate all of this," de Villecourt added.

To meet all of these requirements, Bluestone Group has upgraded from a mid-range data storage cluster to an enterprise data management platform with continuous protection.

The new platform allows all applications including database and e-mail to run across one storage platform which has reduced the total hardware footprint.

All tape-based processes have been eliminated with disk-based cross-system back-up and recovery to reduce cost.

Prior to the upgrade earlier this year, Bluestone, which is an existing NetApp customer, was managing and storing data, based on the FAS270 system, a midrange, entry-level Fibre Channel SAN.

Due to fast business growth and several key applications being developed and moved in-house, Bluestone needed to install NetApp's FAS3040 solution, a scalable storage system suitable for SAN and NAS requirements and offering 24/7 availability.

de Villecourt said another key reason for the upgrade was because the IT team was about to implement an internally developed enterprise-wide software application called BOSS to manage the company's mission-critical lending application.

When NetApp was approached to provide a high-availability solution, the Bluestone team was already testing BOSS on its mid-range FAS270 system.

"Adding BOSS to our system caused a very heavy data load, because we had no other choice but to run it in conjunction with our existing applications. This meant that upgrading to the FAS3040 needed to be seamless, with no interruption to our business," de Villecourt said adding that there was no downtime during the upgrade.

NetApp A/NZ managing director, Peter O'Connor, said because the company's architecture is the same across the entire product range, customers can focus on and grow their business without having to worry about implementing an entirely new storage platform.

"This means that businesses can continue to operate with virtually no downtime during the upgrade process," he said.

Bluestone has one FAS3040 solution at its primary site and a second unit at its disaster recovery site, as well as various data management applications, including: SnapManager for Exchange and SQL; SnapVault, Operations Manager; Protection Manager; SnapDrive; and SnapMirror.

The Bluestone Group has been operating since 2000 and has provided home loans to thousands of customers throughout Australasia worth over $2 billion.

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