Our ‘Proof of Concept’ delivers real business benefits for Stirling Council.
“The need for effective Disaster Recovery often means buying expensive equipment in case something goes wrong, but it usually stands redundant for the majority of the time. SCC’s expertise in developing the innovative Sun Microsystem Logical Domain system makes real business sense. With all equipment running and an excess of capacity spread over multi-site servers, we now have the ability to provide effective backup should the worst happen.”
When Stirling Council sought cutting-edge technology, delivered by an industry leading technology services partner, it turned to SCC. The Scottish local authority services 90,000 inhabitants, spread over 850 square miles. With annual economic growth of 12%, on-demand use of the Council’s IT infrastructure has continued to increase, fuelled by residential and commercial progress.
Our ten year relationship with Stirling Council had previously delivered a comprehensive Sun Solaris Infrastructure solution. This long standing partnership gave unique insights into working practices and project requirements and demands. We had consistently proven responsive and sensitive in the delivery of Stirling’s ongoing IT development.
Ageing Solaris servers held vitally important internal and customer-facing functions, including Payroll and HR, accompanied by ledger and financial systems. These, coupled with Council Tax and Revenues/Benefits applications, meant project build, implementation and roll-out could not disrupt any day-to-day functionality.
Also, significant IT investments over a number of years could not be discarded. The newly configured solution needed to work seamlessly with the existing infrastructure and integrate with the Council’s own Storage Area Network (SAN), whilst enhancing and improving current performance. Stirling Council therefore required a resilient, secure solution that limited downtime and held an effective recovery fallback in the event of a failure.
The solution needed to support and protect key applications with a system turnaround of 24 hours should a breakdown occur.
Our solution had to be ‘risk-free’, offering ‘performance perfect’ functionality from day one, with all conflicts and configuration issues designed out before installation.
"The need for effective Disaster Recovery often means buying expensive equipment in case something goes wrong, but it usually stands redundant for the majority of the time. SCC’s expertise in developing the innovative Sun Microsystem Logical Domain system makes real business sense. With all equipment running and an excess of capacity spread over multi-site servers, we now have the ability to provide effective backup should the worst happen."
Infrastructure Manager, Stirling Council
• 2 x Sun SPARC Enterprise T5220 Servers, utilising UltraSPARC T2 8 Core CPUs
• Solaris 10 Operating System
• Sun Logical Domains, using the hypervisor integrated into the UltraSPARC T2 CPU
Integration of leading-edge, virtualised systems into an existing infrastructure can be complex and difficult. Our new Solaris 10 operated on the latest Sun SPARC technology and went beyond the supply and build of the hardware and applications sought by Stirling Council.
We identified and resolved all configuration issues before the system build through a Technical Workshop run on Council premises and included the ‘Proof Of Concept’ process. Identical hardware and software was constructed,
which mirrored the final Sun Microsystem Logical Domains (LDoms) solution. This duplication simplified the full documentation of the system and, in partnership with the Council’s Business Technology team, resulted in effective deployment, comprehensive testing and issue resolution at the design stage, which significantly reduced project implementation time.
Operating from two remote data centres, the LDoms had inbuilt disaster recovery capabilities. Innovative design, coupled with added server capacity, meant switching from one centre to the other had the system operational within 60 minutes - surpassing the Council’s own goal on downtime.
The partnership between SCC and the Council’s Business Technology team included a transfer of skills and knowledge within the project scope which promoted a thorough understanding of the system. This successfully developed long-term benefits and significant cost savings, with ongoing maintenance managed in-house, patch uploads and issue correction completed quickly, and LDoms switching and Disaster Recovery resolved without the need for our intervention.
Stirling Council’s new system came with a five year support package, including onsite engineering resource and telephone assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Resilience & stability - The configuration incorporates a fully virtualised environment, so technologically advanced that it is the first time such a system has been hosted in the UK.
Integration into current applications & network - Seamless integration into Stirling Council’s existing infrastructure ensures a more cost-effective option by leveraging systems already in use by the Council.
Delivering significant ‘value for money’ savings - The use of Sun’s LDoms virtualisation technology ensures the sharing of server resource, leading to a considerable reduction in ongoing maintenance costs, whilst future-proofing the complete system.
Ongoing high levels of availability & limited disruption - Manual switchover of LDoms results in reduced downtime and minimised disruption to ongoing operations, alongside the introduction of a simplified Disaster Recovery strategy for all systems.
“Using SCC as a partner to integrate Sun Microsystems’ technology into our current infrastructure was a natural choice. They have historically supplied the best solution for us; offering the assurance of a fully proven and risk-free system, improving our vitally important IT infrastructure over a number of years.”Infrastructure Manager, Stirling Council