British national treasure implements unique archiving solution for long term data retention

By | June 21, 2006

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC), home of the renowned Chelsea pensioners, bears a unique responsibility for managing information, prompting it recently to acquire and deploy a complete data archiving and backup solution built around BridgeHead Software’s HT integrated storage management (ISM) platform.

This project was an important step for the Royal Hospital which is subject to complex data protection and compliancy pressures of multiple agencies as it is associated with the British Military, is a healthcare facility and is also a national historical treasure.

Given mounting regulatory pressures, the hospital decided to deploy an email archiving system to ensure an audit trail of communication. After researching the options, the hospital selected the fully integrated solution of Quest Archive Manager and BridgeHead’s HT FileStore as the best of breed for managing and securing email and file data respectively. BridgeHead’s HT FileStore software also plays an important role in expanding the Quest Archive Manager store into a robust, multi-copy, multi-location archive that can automatically accommodate the long-term physical secondary storage needs of the virtual email archive.

The RHC wanted to ensure a high level of data availability for this archive and decided to deploy HT FileStore to create and manage a multi-copy archive on behalf of Archive Manager using a pair of separate NetApp NAS storage systems, each located in a different physical location at the RHC site.

According to Isabel Prieto-Cordero, RHC’s IT and Telecommunications Manager, the subsequent evaluation of BridgeHead software led to a rapid expansion of scope for the entire project: “We were actually amazed at what we could do with the full BridgeHead functionality set and our ability to potentially expand our archiving plans to include in the future essentially all of our data.”

RHC quickly realised that HT FileStore could easily be upgraded to deliver several important capabilities in addition to managing the email repository including:

1) A backup/recovery capability significantly more versatile and useful than their previous software. Prieto-Cordero was accustomed to needing at least an entire day to fully rebuild and recover failed servers with their previous backup software. Tests with BridgeHead HT Backup demonstrated that that process could be reduced to approximately one hour.

2) Archiving of general unstructured file data in addition to and fully coordinated with email archiving from the Quest product.

The RHC team was particularly swayed by this second feature. It took advantage of the same secondary storage and network structure for file archiving that supported email archiving. Now they could set up automated policies to identify general files to be secured in the dual-NAS repository with the option to remove or stub those files conserving primary disk space. They were also impressed with HT FileStore’s advanced meta-data and content search capabilities, which like Archive Manager’s handling of email, make the archive more efficient for finding and analysing information in the archive – even over the long term. Furthermore, the archive would provide access controls and auditing capabilities, essential for compliant archiving.

Over time, automated policies will activate to take advantage of the archive to either stub or entirely remove older, less-likely-to-be-accessed files and email entities from primary disk. Through this automated grooming of primary disk, RHC will not only meet compliancy goals, but will also be able to avoid the continual need to increase expensive primary storage that plagues most IT organisations.

This solution comes at a time when changing national care standards’ legislation has led the RHC ( to launch a major development programme that has to be funded by a public appeal for Ј35m

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