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The combination of VMware and NetApp allows the Police Zone Lier to run all the virtual servers it needs on three physical machines. The new environment also allows more efficient backup and reduces the risk of downtime.
The server room for the Police Zone Lier was practically overflowing. But they were able to halt the uncontrolled growth with a clear choice for virtualization. New applications no longer require new hardware, and it couldn’t be easier to manage it all.
Since the reforms of the Belgian police forces there have been two structures in place: the federal police and the local police. This was not without consequences for the ICT-systems they use. The federal police is responsible for managing police applications, including those of the local police as well. On top of that, an ecosystem of ICT-suppliers had sprung up for additional solutions such as HR, shift planning, archiving and Internet access. “In this way, we were accumulating a highly heterogeneous infrastructure,” explains Guy Schellens, ICT-consultant for the Police Zone Lier. “The various suppliers kept housing their solutions on new servers.” And that wasn’t all. The police zone also needed servers for various developments of its own. Meanwhile, the need for storage capacity was also growing. The police are using increasing amounts of digital evidence that needs to be stored securely for long periods of time.
Virtualization cuts complexity
“Our server fleet just kept growing,” recalls Guy Schellens. “That posed a real challenge for us.” The size and the heterogeneous nature of the hard and software fleet was making it increasingly difficult to create reliable backups. At a certain point, the police zone was using four backup programs, which was needlessly complicating the backup policy. It was time for a solution based on consolidation and virtualization. The police zone had already had positive experiences with VMware and wanted to take it further. “What mattered most to us was the consolidation of the systems. At the same time, virtualization also creates redundancy and significantly reduces the risk of downtime. Plus, the implementation of solutions for back-up and disaster recovery is much simpler in a virtualized environment.”
Single point of contact
Their quest for an experienced integrator brought the Police Zone Lier to Belgacom. “The various candidates presented fairly comparable solutions. But Belgacom was the only player who could offer us a single point of contact for both the virtualization via VMware, and storage via NetApp. That was important for us: that we could rely on a single partner for the entire process.”
No extra hardware
The new environment with three physical machines offers the police zone more than one big advantage: only the virtual servers will continue to increase in number, not the physical machines. Guy Schellens: “If we start using a new system, then we can first check if the supplier can offer the solution virtually. That way, we no longer have to purchase any hardware, and we don’t have to worry about having enough rack space, power or network ports available.” The new virtual machines are automatically added to the back-up system. “When we perform important updates, we first take a snapshot so that we can always revert to the old situation, should it prove necessary.” And there’s more virtualization to come. In the near future, the Police Zone Lier also wants to virtualize the desktops of their staff.
The Police Zone Lier is one of the 195 police zones in Belgium. It is categorized as a single-municipality zone and has a staff of 121 employees.
For more information on onsite IT Infrastructure, visit the Belgacom website or contact your Account Manager.
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