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Background

The Mass Transit Authority is the principal public transport authority in the major southern metropolitan area and is the eighth-largest rapid transit system in the United States by ridership, serving 15,000 per weekday. The Authority operates a network of bus routes linked to a rapid transit system consisting of 48 miles of rail track with 38 train stations.

Metro transit commuter

Challenge

STORAGE SPRAWL

As a critical public service, The Authority’s information infrastructure must provide around-the-clock access to critical applications and systems powering everything from train controls to fare collection. With the rapid growth in the transit system along with increased offerings to travelers and additional business demands such as video security, The Authority’s storage demands grew quickly. The Authority initially addressed this with multiple SANs from multiple manufacturers which supported hundreds of physical and virtual servers running Windows® and UNIX®. This worked in the beginning, but, as data grew, the authority saw the need for unified, easily managed network-attached storage.

Prior to implementing the NetApp solution, management of the existing storage solution required multiple management interfaces and several products to provide storage for the environment.”

ZERO RPO/RTO

The Authority looked to the market to find a solution that would provide a single storage platform that could provide single pane of glass management while supporting critical and highly transactional data across multiple operating systems and databases. The Authority also established a zero recovery point objective (RPO) and zero recovery time objective (RTO). In short, The Authority needed all systems and data to be replicated across multiple sites and instantly available, even in the event of a disaster or failure at any of its data centers, all with a minimal staff.

Solution

NETAPP METROCLUSTER

The Authority partnered with Lockstep Technology Group to meet its business continuity objectives and maintain zero planned downtime. After careful review and consultation, the Authority selected NetApp® MetroCluster™ technology. A design was developed to implement the MetroCluster™ storage system across two datacenters including a full migration of existing data to the MetroCluster™. The Authority turned to Lockstep’s NetApp® experts to perform the complicated implementation and data migration.

CONTINUOUS AVAILABILITY

NetApp® MetroCluster™ software is a solution that combines array-based clustering with synchronous replication to deliver continuous availability and zero data loss at the lowest cost. MetroCluster immediately duplicates all your mission-critical data on a transaction-by-transaction basis, providing uninterrupted access to your applications and data. And unlike standard data replication solutions, MetroCluster works seamlessly with your host environment to provide continuous data availability while eliminating the need to create and maintain complicated failover scripts.

GEOGRAPHIC DISPERSION

NetApp MetroCluster is ideal for organizations that require 24/7 operation for critical business applications. By synchronously replicating data between NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) and or FAS hybrid systems that are collocated in the same data center, between buildings, or across a campus, MetroCluster™ provides a zero-touch continuous availability solution. NetApp MetroCluster™ can also significantly simplify the design, deployment, and maintenance of campus-wide or metropolitan-wide high-availability solutions, with distances up to 300km between sites.

Outcome

STORAGE PERFORMANCE + SCALABILITY

Today, MetroCluster acts as the central storage provider for all of the authority’s mission-critical applications and databases across multiple operating systems. The MetroCluster software resides on an FAS8060 storage server in the authority’s main data center, providing synchronous mirroring to another NetApp FAS8060 in its secondary data center. The MetroCluster environment supports 500 VMware virtual machines (VMs) and 60 physical servers.

The NetApp MetroCluster solution has enabled us to meet our zero RPO and RTO objectives while providing high performance storage under a single management platform. The NetApp MetroCluster solution has proven to be a lightning fast storage solution that also scales to meet our needs. One of the advantages for the organization has been a reduction in storage acquisition costs from purchases every 4-7 months to once in a 24-month period all while increasing the footprint of our compute layer.”

DATA AVAILABILITY + RESILIENCY

When the IT team needs to move data from place to place for development, DR testing, or other purposes, they can move running servers from one physical datacenter to another, with no impact on end users. A non-MetroCluster pair of NetApp FAS8020s were deployed in a tertiary datacenter where NetApp’s SnapVault technology was deployed to serve as backup and long term storage.

With our data being in two places instantly gives the added assurance of zero downtime in the event of a disaster. Having this functionality gives me the peace of mind of knowing that no data will be lost on our infrastructure.”

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