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  • Abraxas: A 4DC Solution Ensures Data Security for the Swiss Public Sector and Other Enterprises

    Abraxas: A 4DC Solution Ensures Data Security for the Swiss Public Sector and Other Enterprises

As the world moves deeper into the digital age, the importance of data security simply cannot be overstated. This is especially true in the public sector, where sensitive information is regularly processed and stored. Switzerland is a case in point, a country where privacy is highly valued and data security is regarded with the utmost importance.

It's in this context that Swiss Information Technology (IT) solution provider Abraxas works with a wide range of customers drawn from diverse sectors, including government agencies and enterprises, big and small. Established in 1989 and jointly owned by seven state — canton — governments, including Zürich and St. Gallen, the company effectively operates as a government-owned Managed Service Provider (MSP). Indeed, Abraxas has grown into a major security and data protection player, offering a comprehensive suite of services, including secure communication solutions, data encryption, secure data storage, and secure access control systems. It also acts as a consultant, helping organizations to develop and implement effective IT security strategies.

Data Protection for Shared Storage Services

For many industries, MSPs represent a valuable resource pool, one that gives enterprises access to a wide range of important management services, including, perhaps most notably, shared storage services. Abraxas operates such services in order to provide highly scalable and flexible solutions, catering to the evolving needs of its customers. Using the company's shared resource pools, these customers benefit from cost-effective storage solutions that eliminate the need to invest in their own storage infrastructure, while also reducing management costs. Shared storage services typically include data backup and recovery, data replication, and Disaster Recovery (DR) and these are, accordingly, the core businesses of Abraxas, with the company consistently delivering efficient and reliable data protection services to key government agencies and other enterprises in Switzerland.

Governmental and enterprise organizations, of course, often handle highly sensitive, private information on a daily basis. This means an ultra-reliable service provider is key to ensuring security. Abraxas provides software development and document services, for example, exclusively to key government entities and, as such, has to meet extremely stringent data backup requirements. So, in addition to standard data security measures, the company implements a 30-day Point-In-Time Recovery (PITR) policy, which allows data to be restored at any point within the past 30 days. More significantly, unlike other big cloud providers, Abraxas keeps all of its data hosted in Switzerland.This ensures that critical information can be recovered quickly and efficiently in the event of any data loss or corruption.

Conventional Solutions Are Inadequate, Facing Increasingly Complex Demands

Uniform service standards are crucial, here, as they serve as the benchmark to evaluate a company's quality. But Abraxas's legacy Service Level Agreement (SLA) set varying Quality of Service (QoS) standards, based on different storage media and levels of data protection.

In addition, its legacy Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and block storage were two distinct technologies, requiring separate management. In fact, eight different sets of devices were needed to manage this setup, limiting resource sharing and slowing down the time it took to complete any given task. Plus, when customers needed file services, block services, or different SLAs, they had to be configured and managed on those eight sets of appliances, leading to a highly complex architecture and, potentially, an organizational mess.

Data That's Always Secure and Recoverable

Looking to upgrade and more easily meet its 30-day PITR policy, Abraxas recognized that it needed a strong enough data center solution to ensure reliable and secure services, in the face of unexpected events such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or hardware failures. Prioritizing an extremely high level of data security, Abraxas chose Huawei's advanced Four Data Center (4DC) solution. This solution ensures uninterrupted services even in the unlikely event of three out of four data centers failing. Additionally, Abraxas turned to Huawei's Data Management Engine (DME) software for unified management with streamlined processes, resulting in a significant reduction in overall complexity and a high increase in management efficiency.

The new solution is an advanced version of Huawei's widely deployed active-active HyperMetro storage solution, which, using OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage devices, enables two storage systems to process services simultaneously, establishing a mutual backup relationship between them. Unlike Abraxas's legacy architecture, where the Storage Area Network (SAN) and NAS were separated, this new infrastructure combines the storage technologies to create more efficient and flexible storage architecture. This means storage resources can also be managed with far greater ease.

By continuously optimizing the storage infrastructure, Abraxas implemented data backup for its primary storage. With PB level of NAS backed up quickly and efficiently, minimizing risk of data loss. Critical data is now always available as needed, with a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) = 0 and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) ≈ 0, boosting the overall reliability from five- to seven-nines: 99.99999%.

Huawei's OceanProtect backup solution includes HyperVault, a file system-based data backup and recovery technology that uses advanced snapshot and remote replication technologies to ensure that data is securely backed up and easily recoverable. Abraxas's backup window has been significantly reduced from hours to minutes, while also easily meeting that 30-day PITR policy.

Huawei also provided technical consultation services, analyzing specific problems to deliver a tailor-made solution, improving its implementation and the overall efficiency of Operations and Maintenance (O&M). Stefan Schneider, Lead Engineer Storage at Abraxas, said: "With this solution, the upgraded services Abraxas can now offer have enhanced customer loyalty and set a new standard for competitors. The 4DC solution ensures reliability and security not only for clients but also at the national level. It guarantees that the solution is not only effective but also safe and trustworthy."

With Huawei, Abraxas is able to provide top-notch data security solutions that are crucial in the government industry. These solutions safeguard national security, protect personal information, ensure regulatory.