Faster, Bigger, Leaner – Serco Conquers Steep Data Growth

Serco Pegs Savings from DXi/Scalar Solution at $2 Million

With a rapidly expanding customer base, Serco has seen what was a 50TB technology infrastructure three years ago explode to 800TBs, with petabytes soon to come. The company turned to an integrated Quantum DXi® and Scalar® backup solution. The result: Deduplication cut the amount of data stored by up to 96 percent, restore times were reduced by a factor of five—and savings over five years are expected to be $2 million. 

Lengthy Backup Window, Restore Times

Serco delivers managed and outsourced solutions, including technology solutions for industry. One example is the Common Delivery Infrastructure (CDI)—a managed storage and data protection infrastructure that clients use remotely on a cost-per-gigabyte basis.

A byproduct of CDI’s success is that its legacy tape-based solution was struggling to back up the customer data Serco is contracted to protect. The backup window was already running from 5pm on Friday to 8am on Monday, and any overrun could result in penalties for breaching service level agreements.

In addition, restores and disaster recovery were labor-intensive. With some Serco clients having up to 600 tapes under management in a monthly cycle, media management was a nightmare. Restores could take one or two days to complete.

“A disk-based backup system was the obvious answer, offering scalable deduplication and replication in one integrated solution,” says Duncan Smith, a Serco Product Manager responsible for CDI.

Benefits: Deduplication, Enterprise-Wide Backup

Serco selected Quantum DXi8500 disk-based backup and replication systems and Quantum Scalar i500 tape libraries to provide flexible deduplication, a scalable architecture, and enterprise-wide backup and disaster recovery for Serco’s clients.

The solution’s deduplication technology has reduced the amount of data stored by up to 96 percent, as well as lowered the total amount of data replicated continuously between two sites from 480TB to 85TB. Deduplication has also cut the demand for tape storage, resulting in tape cost savings and streamlined administration.

In addition, the time needed to back up data has dropped from a full weekend to just four hours. Restores now are up to five times faster because the data can be retrieved directly from the DXi system.

Overall, the system is expected to save Serco $2 million over five years. So where would Serco be without the Quantum solution?

“We would probably have a hangar full of tapes, a fleet of vehicles ferrying tapes around, and a very large bill at the end of it,” says Duncan.