West Yorkshire Fire Service goes for online data backup

West Yorkshire Fire Rescue Service has turned to online backup in order to centralise its data recovery strategy. It has deployed an agentless backup product from Asigra to replace its tape backup.

The fire service covers an 800 square mile area, looking after 48 fire stations and a staff of 1,700. Previously, the fire service relied on tapes stored at different offices. But this was perceived to be a major risk as storage at various locations could have left to service open to data loss or corruption.

The authority wanted to centralise its IT infrastructure to ensure that all data could be securely stored in one place to minimise risk and ensure system availability at all times. It also had a lot of IT equipment within each district council but without any dedicated IT professionals in place, the service struggled to ensure that regular data back ups were carried out.

The authority's existing product was also problematic, causing the server to go down and crash frequently. They had tried different products by numerous vendors but had been unsuccessful in finding a product that would cope with their group wire system and that was not part of a wider package.

The product was deployed following a consultation with Systems Integration and Cabling Limited (SICL), a Leeds based reseller. The fire service ordered a 2TB compressed Asigra Televaulting software license and built a vault at its headquarters to house the backup data.

The vault was linked to five district offices which backed up clustered Netware servers. Although the headquarters stored data permanently, the fire service's remote sites only stored live information for approximately 30 weeks. There were also numerous applications that required backup, including Novell, Microsoft, and Unix.

Ray Ford, Director of Technical Services at Zycko, another company that helped deploy the product, said that while the fire service understood the importance of backing up data, they did not have the right resource in place to ensure that back up happened on a daily basis.

"Traditional back up software requires very fast links to back up data to a central site but because West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service were on call 24 hours a day, they had little time to devote to this important task, placing them at risk from data loss. They needed all their stations to be backed up at one centralised location," he said.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.