Challenge: Ensure that customer-facing systems stay online, no matter what.
Solution: Implement an all-flash storage infrastructure with automatic failover to eliminate unplanned downtime.
Headquartered in Germany, DATEV eG provides software and IT services to tax consultants, auditors and lawyers, as well as their clients. Organized as a cooperative, DATEV has over 40,000 members and employs more than 6,600 people. Today, DATEV operates throughout Germany and across Europe, having recently expanded into Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Slovakia.
DATEV Storage Systems Leader Helmut Stark begins: “We live in an increasingly fast-paced digital world. Customers expect their hosted IT systems and software solutions to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We have stringent service-level agreements in place with both internal and external customers to ensure that we deliver on these expectations.”
To ensure around-the-clock access to services, DATEV recognized the need for a robust business continuity solution. DATEV Storage and z/OS Consultant Walter Auerochs elaborates: “To meet service level agreements and 24/7 customer demand, we need to be prepared for anything, from minor issues to complete system failure. Customers don’t want to hear about back-end issues, they want high availability. As such, the business wanted 100% transparent failover in place.”
Cloud Service Provider
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G800
Hitachi Accelerated Flash
Hitachi Command Suite
Hitachi Performance Analytics software package
Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System with global-active device feature
Implementation and support services provided by Hitachi Vantara Global Services
To eliminate unplanned downtime of hosted services and achieve transparent failover in the event of an outage, DATEV sought an ultra-efficient business continuity solution. After evaluating a range of offerings, the choice was clear for DATEV.
DATEV Storage Administrator Steffen Zimmermann comments: “Having worked with Hitachi before, we knew from experience that both Hitachi solutions and support are high quality and extremely reliable. It was an easy choice to go with Hitachi.
DATEV implemented two pairs of Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) G800 all-flash arrays, with a total capacity of 900TB, at its two geographically remote data centers.
Auerochs recalls: “The implementation went very smoothly. We worked closely with our assigned Service Delivery Manager from Hitachi Vantara, who acted as a single point of contact and helped us to complete the project without any issues. Hitachi also ran a comprehensive one-day workshop for us so that we could come to grips with the new solution and establish best practices. As we expected, support from Hitachi has been excellent.”
Running an active-active cluster, DATEV continuously and synchronously replicated its operational data across sites through the global-active device feature of Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System, on the VSP G800 systems. Global-active device provides 100% transparent failover in the event of system failure.
With all flash, the VSP G800 systems also deliver high performance and low latency. Zimmermann comments: “What’s great about our VSP solution is its second-generation flash modules (FMDs). The FMDs come with a powerful in-built compression functionality, which means that we will need to use less storage – speeding up the recovery process and saving costs.”
With the Hitachi solution in place, DATEV is better equipped than ever before to meet demanding SLAs, even in the event of disaster.
“We have tested the global-active device feature extensively and have found that servers stay online, even when one storage system goes down in one data center,” says Auerochs. “Crucially, the failover process is supported by dedicated hardware and is completely automatic. The Hitachi solution doesn’t require any manual intervention, which means that we no longer have to scramble around to get systems back online. The switchover from primary to secondary data center is completely seamless, so customer services keep running uninterrupted, no matter what.”
He continues: “Performance has improved dramatically with the VSP G800 all-flash solution. Customers are reporting that their hosted systems run much quicker. We can clearly see the difference that all-flash technology has made.”
Zimmermann adds: “Thanks to the FMDs’ integrated compression, we have been able to reduce our storage footprint considerably. Our existing storage systems covered three racks at each data center, while the VSP systems take up just half a rack. As a result, we have seen an 80% reduction in energy and cooling costs.”
Stark concludes: “With Hitachi solutions, we know that systems will always be available around-the-clock. Not only does this enable us to meet tough SLAs and keep customers happy, but it also frees up time so that we can focus more time and energy on developing innovative new digital services.”