Nationwide Storage platform in SCSTI consolidates 100 IT systems
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Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information (SCSTI) is the public agenda of Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic responsible for advising and helping the Ministry of Education in developing and managing IT infrastructure among education institutions around the country. Its aim is to secure proper functioning of critical educational systems, like national examination or university financial systems. Recently, SCCTI launched a project for digitalization of education across the country and needed to improve its storage infrastructure.
Consolidating several storage systems across the country into one
SCSTI use several mass storage systems, but two of them are the most critical as they are used for the majority of the real-time, online services, such as anti-plagiarism system for all the papers of Slovak students and scientists. Both were operated on outdated storage systems implemented around 8 years ago. The old infrastructure generated very high maintenance and financial costs which significantly reflected on the functioning of the whole institution. To make daily operation more easy and reliable, SCSTI needed to upgrade data storage system in the main data center and for all connected public universities.
“We found out that the system was generating more and more costs so we decided to stop it and implement a modern, more reliable and cheaper storage solution. As the public agenda we couldn’t afford to upgrade our systems in one- or two-year cycle. We had to choose a large scale solution that will serve at least for another decade and will be much cheaper and easier to manage.” said Vladimir Fecko, an IT architect for SCSTI responsible for the project. “Besides a smooth implementation of the new system, we had to secure efficient migration of huge amounts of data while keeping all systems in operation.” adds Fecko.
SCSTI needed a combination of quick, traditional hard drive arrays (with SAS) and the possibility of asynchronous remote replication between different locations to enhance the protection of core data.
Transformation: Flawless migration of data from multiple locations to a new storage platform
A special internally appointed committee decided that only enterprise class storage could guarantee the seamless upgrade and fulfill the needs for a long-lasting supplier’s support, both during- and after implementation. The supplier's help was of the utmost importance, as the adaptation of architecture to connect the storage to the operating data center was required, and all data had to be moved while all systems remained in operation.
“Huawei offered us full, in-price support, and thankfully worked with us during the whole data migration process. We had to work without any outage and any interruption. For each location the process took 2 to 4 months and it was crucial to have all those locations interconnected to other production systems.” said Vladimir Fecko, SCSTI.
Now, OceanStor storages serve as two main production storages for Centre of Scientific and Technical Information.
Centralized 100 information systems serving 50 thousands students
The most-important effect of the implementation is significant reduction of costs, in particular the amount of the staff’s time needed for daily operation. Thanks to the implementation, SCSTI was able to save approximately 60 thousand euros yearly — solely on the maintenance costs of the storage system. Additionally, after the implementation, SCSTI uses arrays with the capacity of 300 TB (SSD, SAS, and NL SAS), instead of previous 120 TB ones. In the future, there is also the possibility of quickly extending the maximum capacity, if needed.
With such successful products, the new SCSTI storage system is able to reliable operate on nationwide scale. “Now our storage platform based on Huawei’s OceanStor arrays run over 100 information systems, including the national antiplagiarism system, a main financial system for universities, and the examination system which tests more than 50 thousand students a year.” says Vladimir Fecko. “Since we implemented OceanStor arrays almost two years ago, the system has worked very effectively. We are very impressed with the capacity, performance, and versatility of Huawei’s storage solutions.” summarizes Fecko.
About Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information
The SCSTI is a subsidiary organization (public body) of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic that advises and helps the Ministry in the areas of science and technology. The institution was established in 1938 as the Slovak technical library and, since its establishment, is a pioneer in new library and information services implementation. The SCSTI is the national information centre for science, technology, innovation, and education and the specialized scientific library of the Slovak Republic. It coordinates activities and ensures the operation of interdisciplinary R&D centers and national infrastructures for research, development, innovation, and education. SCSTI is the host institution of the National Contact Points for HORIZON 2020 and ensures operation of the Slovak Liaison Office for R&D in Brussels.