Technology solutions provider enables information life-cycle management with Hitachi archiving and storage solutions

iGATE is a global provider of integrated technology and operations based solutions, with headquarters in Bridgewater, New Jersey. As a trusted partner to corporations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, iGATE solves clients’ business challenges by leveraging its technology and process capabilities, as well as its domain and industry expertise. With a growing employee base spanning multiple locations and applications, iGATE sought a way to rein in its stores of unstructured data and to optimize their handling. While increased data archiving capabilities and reduced backup windows were key priorities, the company also needed to find a storage provisioning and management solution to handle all of its unstructured data through the entire life cycle. Hitachi file and content solutions provided the features needed to address iGATE’s data challenges

The Challenge

New Jersey-based iGATE faced a situation that confronts many companies: It was grappling with growing stores of unstructured data. With a burgeoning employee population located across the U.S. and India, iGATE required storage provisioning that would support its needs and reduce the pressure on the company’s primary storage system. With its existing backup mechanisms, iGATE had no way of separating active and valuable data from older and less-critical content. This meant that the cost of storage, as measured on a daily basis, was higher than it needed to be. Storing inactive data on primary disks also meant that, in the event of an outage, the company had to restore massive amounts of content that were not all mission critical. This could adversely impact the company’s service level agreements (SLAs) regarding recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) measures and posed a threat to business continuityIn addition, the company had difficulty completing backups within the allotted time windows due to the proliferation of data across the company. This again led to availability issues and the possibility of business disruption. If the backups were incomplete, iGATE risked losing critical data and falling short of regulatory compliance involving data retention. Given this scenario, iGATE decided to explore a CIO-led mandate to implement a comprehensive archiving and storage solution within the organization. A key part of this solution centered around efficiently and automatically archiving data that was more than 2 years old. The company also recognized the need for stronger data management policies to tackle its mounting stores of unstructured data. Given that iGATE employees were based in different locations within India, the company sought a storage consolidation and virtualization solution to facilitate both availability and management. While the immediate and explicit need was for a solution that would allow the company to improve its backup windows and storage utilization, iGATE really needed an information life-cycle management solution to handle its stores of unstructured data optimally.

The Solution

Following a comprehensive file assessment, Hitachi Data Systems Global Solution Services (GSS) came up with a recommendation for the proposed infrastructure. The GSS team’s solution combined the archiving capabilities of Symantec Enterprise Vault with the storage management features of Hitachi Content Platform. The archiving component of the solution leverages file discovery and contextual classification to push file and Microsoft SharePoint data into a high-performance archive with built-in data protection capabilities. This allows iGATE to reclaim its primary storage and focus its backup efforts on active data. The archived data is stored in a cost-effective way that allows users to easily access it. This is due partly to Enterprise Vault’s integrated SharePoint search facility, which indexes both live and archived content to yield the best and most relevant results for users. For users, this makes the entire experience of file and data recovery smooth and seamless. Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) is a virtualized object storage platform that is widely recognized for its superior management of unstructured data. It was possible for iGATE to configure a single HCP into multiple virtual object stores that were designed for specific kinds of workloads. With a single object storage infrastructure that supports a wide range of data types, applications and users, HCP enables iGATE to eliminate storage silos, along with the cost and complexity associated with them. Through HCP single-instancing and industrystandard compression features, iGATE could eliminate unnecessary copies and reduce the amount of storage required for a single piece of content. This allowed the company to effectively contain data proliferation. The intelligent tiered storage of HCP meant that iGATE would now be able to lower the day-to day-cost of drives and increase service performance. In combination, these storage attributes had the potential to significantly reduce the pressure of data growth on iGATE’s IT infrastructure. HCP also was highly scalable from its then-current usable capacity of multiple terabytes to petabytes in the future. Its multitenant architecture provided employees with the ideal mix of security and accessibility. The solution also included performance monitoring to help address bottlenecks or hardware issues before they began to have a detrimental effect on performance or productivity. HCP ensures data integrity through various content-preservation capabilities, including encryption, “write once, read many” (WORM) and content-authenticity services. These capabilities further simplified legal discovery and ensured compliance with corporate and industry regulations for iGATE. Zaiman, a 3rd-party implementation services provider affiliated with Symantec, assisted with the deployment at iGATE.

The Benefits

The benefits of the HDS solution are likely to trickle into many aspects of both IT and business operations for iGATE. Here are some of the primary benefits, both actual and expected:

1) Reduction in storage cost. The solution allows iGATE to move inactive data to a long-term object store automatically to reduce the real cost of managing storage. Through the intelligent tiering feature, iGATE’s ability to lower the daily cost of disk usage is likely to improve dramatically.

2) Data growth containment. The growth of Tier 1 data will be contained while still providing the highest level of service to business units. This is possible through the application of granular data management policies integrated into the archiving solution.

3) Reduction in backup windows. With inactive data being moved out of primary disks into content archives, iGATE has significantly reduced its backup windows and simultaneously boosted availability.

4) Assured business continuity. Since the demands on its primary storage systems are now greatly reduced, iGATE is able to easily meet its service level agreements on parameters such as RPO and RTO. This also means that the organization is better prepared for disaster-recovery scenarios Hitachi Content Platform is a virtualized object storage and has ensured business continuity.

5) Reduced risk of data loss. With automatic and logically structured backups, the company’s risk of critical data loss is now negligible. 6) Improved user experience. Apart from reducing data recovery times, the solution includes seamless shortcuts for users to access, edit and restore archived files. Thus, business users now have transparent access to archived data.

7) Compliance facilitation. Corporate and government regulations often require IT departments to store data for many years. Unstructured data in particular can be difficult to categorize for future location and retrieval. The HDS solution will make this process much easier for iGATE.

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