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2009-06-24

Archive and storage specialists Proact have built a new storage and backup platform for pharmaceutical company Biovitrum. “This new solution is allowing us to save a lot of storage space, and at the same time we are able to handle storage and backup a lot more smoothly and quickly,” says Jesper Bondesson, IT architect at Biovitrum.

Biovitrum is a Swedish pharmaceutical company focusing on specialist drugs. The company had a turnover in excess of SEK 1 billion last year and employs some 400 staff, of whom 170 work with research. Biovitrum products are marketed and sold internationally. With growing information volumes over the past few years, the company’s IT systems and backup system have been under a lot of strain. Backups could take 24 hours or more, and restore times were unreasonably long. Moreover, the file servers were starting to be overloaded, and there was a constant need to increase disk capacity. This was partly due to the fact that the number of duplicates in the systems was growing. “We used to make all our backups to tape. An ordinary full backup was no less than 10-12 terabytes in size, and the volumes kept on growing. We also had to spend a lot of time working on the tape robot, and so we realised we needed a new storage platform,” says Jesper Bondesson. Besides the problems with backing up, Biovitrum also wanted to enhance information availability and create better disaster protection. The company also wanted to retain and integrate existing HP storage hardware in its new platform. Another requirement they had was that the solution had to be flexible and not tie Biovitrum to any particular product. Proact produced a solution based on a Netapp cluster for primary data, and the existing HP storage has been integrated into this. In addition to this is a secondary system which mirrors the storage and so provides secure protection in case of system failure. Deduplication technology has been built into the solution in order to reduce duplicate storage. This has allowed Biovitrum to free up some 60-70 per cent of the disk space in its virtualised VMware environment. Another central function of the platform is what is known as snapshot technology, which involves making backups of all data several times a day. If, for example, an employee manages to delete a file, they can easily recreate it from the latest snapshot. In the past, resources from the IT department were needed to recreate data from the backup tape. “We create backups in a few minutes using snapshot technology, and we can restore data in a few seconds. This new system is both stable and efficient, and we can also extend it as required,” says Jesper Bondesson, adding that the traditional tape backup will be phased out entirely before long.

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