Comic Relief goes for green systems

As Comic Relief looks to make this year's Red Nose Day' its biggest ever, all Comic Relief staff will be relying on a new green storage system behind the scenes.

The organisation has implemented a new storage area network (SAN) and virtualisation platform to create a virtual storage and server environment to support its in-house operational activities and all staff involved in this year's Do Something Funny for Money' campaign.

The existing internal storage systems, made up of a Compaq storage area network (SAN) and two HP Network Attached Storage (NAS) subsystems, were reaching full capacity and taking more and more time to manage.

Storage vendor Compellent provided the new SAN, which was installed alongside a VMware virtualisation platform by Fordway Solutions.

The charity now runs all in-house operations on 20 virtual servers on just four physical machines, and plans to further consolidate its servers in the near future.

In addition, the new storage and server infrastructure delivers fast data recovery in the event of loss or corruption. Prior to installation, data was held off-site on tapes and could take several hours to recover. Today, recovery has been reduced to minutes, using Compellent's Data Instant Replay snapshots.

Comic Relief has also deployed the storage vendor's automated tiered storage, called Data Progression, to automate the process of moving less frequently accessed data to lower-cost disks. Asset utilisation has been boosted by deploying Compellent's Dynamic Capacity thin provisioning technology, to eliminate allocated but unused capacity across the network.

As a result, Comic Relief has cut the number of physical servers required by one fifth, while reducing the costs of powering, cooling and housing its servers and storage, which has also helped it meet its environmental IT commitments.

John Thompson, Comic Relief's head of IT, said: "Compellent's SAN has been instrumental in reducing our IT capital and operational costs."

He also said the SAN ensures that its systems are better protected from potential downtime and data loss, ensuring the charity is able to adapt to business growth and change over the long-term.

"Compellent has provided us with an extremely cost-effective solution, ensuring that the maximum amount of profit is donated to our global initiatives," he added.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.