Camelot UK Lotteries Limited builds a highly flexible storage infrastructure

Creating a three-tier virtualised landscape with IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller

Published on 09-Aug-2011

"With the IBM SVC and VDS solutions, we have built a storage environment that is powerful, cost-effective and easy to manage, and which we believe will be able to scale to meet the needs of our business for the foreseeable future." - Neil Hart, Storage Team Lead at Camelot Group

Customer:
Camelot

Industry:
Media & Entertainment

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT, Storage Consolidation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Storage

Overview

Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of the UK National Lottery, and is responsible for managing lottery infrastructure, designing new games, developing marketing support for lottery products, providing services for players and winners, and, in partnership with 28,500 retailers, running the network that sells lottery tickets to players. Camelot employs approximately 760 people.

Business need:
When Camelot won its bid to run the UK National Lottery for a third Licence period, the company decided to build a completely new IT infrastructure that would support operations more effectively. The company’s storage team saw this as an opportunity to standardise its storage landscape and build a more flexible, manageable and cost-efficient environment.

Solution:
IBM helped Camelot to build a three-tier storage environment, using IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller to virtualise and manage a range of IBM System Storage DS® disk systems. The company also invested in an IBM System Storage Virtualized Disk Solution to provide a separate storage environment for a specific business solution.

Benefits:
Enables easier storage and more seamless movement of data between disk tiers, helping to ensure optimal performance and cost efficiency. Allows administrators to create new virtual storage volumes quickly and efficiently, at least 50 percent faster than the previous infrastructure. Simplifies administration with a single, powerful management console, helping a small IT team manage more than 120TB of data with minimal effort

Case Study

Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of the UK National Lottery, and is responsible for managing lottery infrastructure, designing new games, developing marketing support for lottery products, providing services for players and winners, and, in partnership with 28,500 retailers, running the network that sells lottery tickets to players. Camelot employs approximately 760 people.

As operator of The National Lottery, Camelot’s over-arching objective is to maximise returns to Good Causes through selling lottery tickets in a socially responsible way. Each week, Camelot generates around £25 million for the Good Causes, and to date, players have raised over £25 billion, with more than 340,000 individual awards made across the UK. Although Camelot is responsible for generating returns to the Good Causes, it plays no role in the allocation of funding, which is the responsibility of 14 independent distribution bodies. In general, the causes supported range from arts, sports, heritage, health and education to the environment and charities. With an average of 116 lottery grants for every postcode district in the UK, The National Lottery has made a huge difference to lives and communities the length and breadth of the country.

Following the successful operation of The National Lottery during its first and second Licence periods (1994 to 2001 and 2002 to 2009, respectively), Camelot’s third Licence began in February 2009 and lasts until 2019, with a possible extension for a further five years. As part of its bid for the third Licence, Camelot committed to build a new IT infrastructure, one that was capable of scaling to meet the Lottery’s requirements for the whole Licence period.

A new storage area network
A key part of this new infrastructure would be the main storage area network, which supports Camelot’s key business applications such as SAP ERP and Microsoft® Exchange, as well as the company’s interactive website.

“At the time, we had a mixture of storage systems from IBM and HP, and we were using various different storage management tools and consoles,” says Neil Hart, Storage Team Lead at Camelot Group. “We seized the opportunity to rationalise our storage landscape, making it more cost-effective and easier to manage.”

Meeting the requirements
The Camelot storage team drew up a list of requirements and asked a number of leading vendors for proposals.

“The key requirement was that the new storage systems should give us greater flexibility,” comments Hart. “When the business asks for storage for a new application or database, we wanted to be able to react quickly. We also wanted to make it easier to move data between different tiers of storage, which would help us to deliver the right level of performance for each application at the lowest cost to the business.

“We believed that IBM’s proposal, based around IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) technology, was the best aligned with our strategy, and we were confident in the roadmap for the future of the solution. In our opinion, the other solutions on the market at the time didn’t seem to offer the same maturity and features as SVC – or certainly not for a comparable price.”

Building a virtualised disk solution
The team worked with IBM storage specialists to migrate 120TB of data from its existing landscape onto a new three-tiered storage infrastructure, which is managed by SVC.

Tier one is used for enterprise level systems which require extremely fast I/O performance to serve thousands of external users, such as those using Camelot’s interactive website. This tier is built on the IBM System Storage DS8100 platform, and uses high-speed fibre channel disks.

The second tier, built on IBM System Storage DS6800 and DS4800 systems with fibre channel disks, is used for demanding internal applications such as SAP ERP. Finally, the third tier uses DS4700 systems with less expensive, high-capacity SATA disks to handle less demanding workloads such as the company’s archiving solution.

Single management console
SVC provides a single management console that manages all three tiers, and makes it easier to move data between them when required.

“SVC makes storage management so easy that a very small team can handle the maintenance for our entire storage landscape,” says Hart. “To give one example, a few months ago we wanted to install a firmware update on one of our DS4700s. Previously this would have been quite a major piece of work, but with SVC it was simple. We just temporarily migrated all the data to another system, took the DS4700 offline, installed the update, started it up again and migrated the data back onto it. The whole process was seamless, and avoided any downtime or disruption to the business.”

Faster provisioning
SVC is also designed to make it easier to provision new storage volumes – especially when used in combination with the company’s virtualised IBM Power Systems servers. The IT team simply sets up a new virtual machine, connects it via the IBM Virtual I/O Server to SVC, and then uses the SVC console to allocate as much storage as it needs.

“With SVC, we have been able to cut the provisioning time for new systems by around 50 percent,” comments Hart. “This helps us support the business more effectively, because it reduces the time to market for new products, particularly in the online gaming space.”

Supporting business growth
Camelot has designed a data archiving policy that helps to minimise storage growth. Even so, its data volumes are increasing by around 10 percent per year.

“To support business growth, our storage platform has to be scalable,” says Hart. “We see SVC as ideal for this, because it allows us to plug almost any storage system into our SAN, and manage it using the same central management console. This gives us a lot of flexibility because we can choose the best hardware to meet our needs going forward, instead of worrying about keeping to a single standard platform or vendor.”

Introducing the IBM Virtualised Disk Solution
Camelot was so impressed with the SVC solution that when one of its business units required a smaller, independent SAN for a specific project, the IT team wanted to create a second SVC environment. IBM was able to meet this requirement in a cost-effective manner with its Virtualised Disk Solution (VDS).

“VDS is effectively SVC in the form of an appliance,” explains Hart. “It includes two SVC nodes, two SAN switches, and a System Storage DS disk system. It was very easy to install: basically, we just plugged everything in, attached our servers , and we were ready to go. Our in-house team did the whole implementation and got it up and running within a couple of days. In terms of simplicity and value for money, we think it’s unbeatable.”

He concludes: “With the IBM SVC and VDS solutions, we have built a storage environment that is powerful, cost-effective and easy to manage, and which we believe will be able to scale to meet the needs of our business for the foreseeable future.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Storage: DS4700 Express, Storage: DS4800, Storage: DS6800, Storage: DS8100

Software:
System Storage SAN Volume Controller, Tivoli Storage Manager

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011, IBM United Kingdom Limited, PO Box 41, North Harbour, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 3AU. Produced in the United Kingdom. July 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Power Systems, System Storage and System Storage DS are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Microsoft is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.

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