Challenge: Optimization of storage processes and platforms to manage data growth and other public online services.
Solution: Implement an object-based "digitalization storage" based on a Hitachi Vantara platform that simplifies backup and strengthens data security.
The IT Service Center of the Free State of Bavaria supports the digitalization of the Bavarian administration with intelligent data storage.
Around 200 years ago, the German politician Maximilian Joseph von Montgelas conceived a comprehensive modernization of Bavaria's administration. The term "Montgelas 3.0" now describes the digital transformation of the German state’s administration. The central e-government platform "BayernPortal" offers citizens and businesses uniform access to state and municipal administrative services.
The IT Service Center of the Free State of Bavaria (IT-DLZ) is the central IT service provider for the state administration and specialist courts in Bavaria. It provides and operates efficient and future-oriented e-government applications. IT-DLZ also provides the services, systems and communication platforms on which these applications are based. The respective technical teams play a key role in securely providing public services throughout Bavaria. More than 400 IT-DLZ specialists support numerous ministries and authorities with a comprehensive IT portfolio that also includes application development.
Existing data growth coupled with the massive additional demand resulting from digitalization initiatives pushed IT-DLZ’s current storage infrastructure to its capacity limits. "In the last three years, annual data growth has been around 60%," reports Christian Stangl, Head of Storage Infrastructure and Decentralized IT Infrastructures at IT-DLZ. One of the reasons for this immense growth is the storage of aerial photos, which have a very high resolution. The establishment of a digital state archive is another example of a data-intensive application.
The organization needed a storage solution for large data volumes, which offered reliability as well as transparent costs and modern interfaces. It also wanted a solution that would help to improve the storage capacity at branch offices.
Hitachi Vantara has supported the Free State of Bavaria by optimizing its data storage and management since 2007. A particular challenge was a major data center migration in 2012, when the IT infrastructure was relocated from Munich city center to a new site in the east of the state’s capital. From 2015 onwards, further consolidation of the state's data centers was on the agenda. The state government's requirement was to unify all IT operations, with the exception of tax administration, justice and police, with IT-DLZ.
To meet the state’s digital objectives, IT-DLZ decided to supplement its existing storage infrastructure consisting of block, file and tape storage with object storage. This represented a good choice both in terms of performance and costs. The implementation of Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) and Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) also enabled IT-DLZ to move closer to the goal of automatically separating "hot" and "cold" data.
Following extensive collaboration between Hitachi Vantara and IT-DLZ, a proof of concept was conducted to evaluate the suitability of the new platform. Extensive tests were carried out on the functionality and performance of the system alongside the existing data center infrastructure.
Hitachi Vantara also held several workshops to provide the IT-DLZ team with the necessary knowledge and to explain the platform's capabilities to application developers and other interested parties within the government administration. "Hitachi Vantara was involved in every phase of the implementation. The workshops enabled our customers to clarify specific questions," says Stangl.
IT-DLZ deployed two HCP solutions that provide object-based storage for unstructured and large amounts of data, as well as a third instance for recovery after a failure. "Hitachi Vantara's object-based storage approach gives us the scalability and security we need. At the same time, it reduces costs per gigabyte and space requirements in the data center," explains Stangl.
Thanks to the Amazon S3 and OpenStack SWIFT interfaces, IT-DLZ and state authorities can develop strategies and solutions that directly exploit the advantages of object storage, such as extensive application-specific metadata.
Several Free State of Bavaria government sites now have virtual or physical HDI installations with file server functionality. These provide remote users with local cached storage for active data. At the same time, all data is replicated to the central HCP infrastructure, keeping capacity low at remote sites and protecting data in an optimum way.
For large amounts of information, it is essential to have short backup times and the ability to restore files quickly and easily when needed. Government data is protected by versioned and overwrite-proof storage at several locations.
The multi-tenant Hitachi Vantara solution also simplifies compliance when storing administrative data, for example by defining expiration dates or retention periods. Digital signatures ensure the data integrity of each object.
The Hitachi Vantara solution has helped the Free State of Bavaria to optimize procedures and accelerate administrative processes. In the future, it will play an important and central role in other e-government applications, which will gradually be made available to citizens and businesses in Bavaria.
With this new approach to data storage, the state administration benefits from faster access, stronger security and smarter technology. The new system makes it easier to transform manual processes for a digital age.
Although a considerable proportion of the data becomes inactive as soon as it is recorded, it must still be stored securely for a very long period of time. With the Hitachi Vantara solution, IT-DLZ can significantly reduce the consumption of expensive Tier 1 storage capacity. In the future it plans to implement fully automated hierarchical storage management.
"With our block storage, which focuses on very high performance, we can store 0.65PB of data on a square meter of data center space. With the new object storage, we can store 6.25PB in the same space and achieve a storage density that is almost 10 times higher. As a result, storage costs per gigabyte have drastically reduced," says Stangl.
IT-DLZ is now equipped to meet the data growth resulting from more online services and digitalized processes. Intelligent use of metadata for stored information will also support the introduction of new services.
"Hitachi Vantara offers us a very good base for secure and cost-effective data storage. This helps IT-DLZ to fulfil its tasks for the digitalization of the Bavarian administration", concludes Stangl.