So Much Data, So Little Space

We have a lot of stuff and not a lot of room. We have had to maintain important documents, whether it be for tax purposes, health, or other reasons. At one point or another, you run out of folders to hold these documents and places to put all of the folders. Recently, however, we have moved to digitalized storage, but the problem still remains: all this data and so little space.

On Tuesday, October 21, 2015, GovLoop hosted its first State and Local Virtual Summit: Tech Trends event. Speakers Brian Viscuso, IT Project Lead at the Department of Information Technology for the County of Henrico, and Matthew Lawson, Principal Architect at NetApp, dove into how state and local governments can utilize data storage more efficiently.

The online training, Responding Faster: How Henrico County, VA Improved their Public Safety Services, covered the success story of Virginia’s fifth largest county, Henrico. Henrico County may be best known for its affiliation with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, otherwise known as NASCAR. Henrico County annually hosts the NASCAR races at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR).

Because safety is always a number one priority, Henrico County officials wanted to update their 911 response systems and subsequent data storage to accommodate the new visitors from such events. With the help of NetApp, a Fortune 500 company that has helped the 25 largest U.S. states run on their systems, they were able to do just that. NetApp focuses on helping its customers with computer storage and data management

“First identify what your cloud strategy is and what is driving you to move to the cloud before choosing a cloud solution,” Lawson said.

The Henrico public safety departments respond to approximately 200,000 calls for service annually. Their motto is “When Seconds Count,” and they do. Therefore, Henrico County needed to ensure that their data would be stored (and accessed when necessary) in a timely and efficient manner. In other words, they needed to update their systems to accommodate the constituency, as well as the additional NASCAR visitors.

NetApp’s The Clustered ONTAP program helped the 911 dispatch system feed into their data warehouse to use for the technology enhanced modern policing (TEMPO) initiative. As a result, Henrico County bought the Clustered ONTAP program and were able to solve what Viscuso described as “the storage Tetris problem – where large workloads need to be moved into a new environment in a multi-day effort impacting other systems.”

“It’s never good when you have to wait to find more room for new data,” Viscuso said. And since “data has weight and mass, it is difficult to move,” Lawson added. Fortunately, the weight problem was resolved via the Clustered ONTAP system, which allowed Henrico County to utilize non-disruptive operations. This provided Henrico County with the ability to smoothly migrate volumes among different performance tiers. Ultimately, lowering the wait time since “We can move volumes of data tiers around seamlessly in the background without disturbing users,” Viscuso said.

NetApp was able to address other essential criteria for an agency’s modern data center. Lawson stated that speed (higher levels of performance), agility (software defined), efficiency (cloud ready), and simplicity (converged infrastructure- servers, network, storage) are all essential to maintaining an efficient data storage facility. NetApp provided all of these capabilities-even through the data migration.

Henrico County saw immediate results. During the webinar, Viscuso shared a quote from one of his colleagues: “Database contention has gone from multiple times a week to about once a month since the upgrade,” said B.R. Carson, Department of Information Technology Project Manager-CAD.

This migration was a win for all. “When you deal with emergency operations you just can’t be down” concluded Viscuso.

So no need to be overwhelmed! There are ways to help with the data clutter. Henrico County, in partnership with NetApp, proved it to be so!



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