Challenge: Improve data services, availability and storage capacity to achieve digital transformation goals.
Solution: Transform the data center with highly scalable and reliable Hitachi content and storage solutions.
Kooperativa pojišťovna (Kooperativa) is a Czech insurance company offering personal and business products to more than 2.5 million customers. Part of the Vienna Insurance Group, Kooperativa been part of the country’s insurance sector for 27 years.
In late 2018, Kooperativa ramped up its digital capabilities by acquiring Pojišťovna České spořitelny, a pioneer in selling of life insurance products and submitting claims online. “Digitalizing insurance products and processes helps to eliminate paper-based process for employees, and provides customers with better access to services,” says Jan Vyvážil, Infrastructure System Engineer at Kooperativa.
To support its digitalization ambitions and get more value from its data, Kooperativa decided to transform the company’s approach to storage. The existing block-based storage was reaching end of life, and numerous applications relied on Windows®-based file services for data transfer.
“Customers need to be able to access documents, such as insurance policies, online, which would be impossible using our current document management system,” says Vyvážil. “We also need to comply with our ‘never delete’ policy for critical data, which means our capacity requirements are constantly increasing.”
Availability was another key consideration for the company; its digital services are dependent on real-time access to data. Although the company was replicating data between two sites, the growing volume of data and the distance between the data centers was adding complexity to the process.
“We needed to eliminate the risk of any application downtime, not only from any unexpected outages but also from planned system maintenance,” explains Vyvážil. “By deploying a solution with active-active controllers and replication, we realized we could boost our data protection and recovery capabilities.”
Hitachi Content Platform G10
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G800
Hitachi NAS Platform 4060
Implementation, Migration and Replication Services Provided by MHM COMPUTER A.S.
MHM COMPUTER A.S.
After a series of proof-of-concept studies, Vyvážil and his team, with support from partner MHM, implemented a Hitachi Vantara object storage solution.
Two instances of Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) were deployed in metro-distance locations to enable active-active replication. A third HCP was deployed with active-passive replication for disaster recovery purposes. All customer data is now stored on the HCP solutions with an internally developed application that enables cost-effective and simplified access to support the company’s digitalization initiatives.
A Hitachi NAS Platform (HNAS) as well as two Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G800 (VSP G) systems with flash module drives (FMD) were also installed. This established a storage metrocluster using global-active device technology, which is integrated with VMware.
Around 100 terabytes of data - including SQL databases, SharePoint® and Exchange® – from 400 virtual machines was migrated to the VSP G systems over the course of a single week. After the team conducted thorough tests, millions of documents were migrated over 14 days to HCP. Another 10 terabytes of application and user file sharing data was migrated to the NAS Platform.
“The Hitachi solutions were easy to implement and integrate. They simplify day-to-day management and enable a smarter approach to data protection and recovery,” says Vyvážil. “Access to local Hitachi experts and partners based here in the Czech Republic is a huge advantage for us; they are on-hand to help us optimize the solution and answer any queries.”
To collect performance data and monitor the utilization of resources across its Virtual Storage Platform and VMware server farm, Kooperativa deployed Hitachi Infrastructure Analytics Advisor. It enables them to monitor the end-to-end data path to identify performance bottlenecks easily and very quickly.
By transforming its infrastructure, Kooperativa now has the foundations it needs to support the 24/7 delivery of digital services to customers and employees. “Greater digitalization boosts user satisfaction and productivity,” adds Vyvážil. In 2018, customers were able to open 70,000 life insurance cases online via the new portal, which significantly speeds up and simplifies the claims process.
The new storage environment has improved IOPS performance by 270%, enabling faster access to applications and services.
Consolidating its storage on Hitachi Vantara’s energy-efficient systems has reduced Kooperativa’s power consumption by 60% and delivered an additional 40% saving on data center cooling costs. The company has also made financial savings through lower licensing fees, and has freed up rack space by 80%.
Capacity has increased by 31% across the entire infrastructure with deduplication freeing up space both on the HNAS and HCP solutions. “We currently have 92 million objects stored on HCP, but deduplication has enabled a 37% saving on space, and compression has unlocked a further 12%,” says Vyvážil.
“We’ve worked with Hitachi Vantara for years; they offer reliable and mature solutions,” says Kooperativa CIO Dušan Drdla. “The new solution enables us to optimize storage capacity and data availability while also controlling costs.”
With a highly scalable and reliable platform underpinning its digital roadmap and customer services, it’s no wonder that Kooperativa has achieved a 25% market share in the Czech Republic. “Hitachi Vantara technology is an essential pillar of the infrastructure that enables us to deliver award-winning service to our customers,” says Drdla. “With smarter storage and data management, we can spend time developing more products and services that deliver greater customer value and boost our competitive advantage.”
MHM is a leading provider of IT solutions and services in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1990, it offers infrastructure, networking, server, storage and data security solutions, and has customers throughout the world.