Enterprises are making headway when it comes to modernising their IT infrastructure to keep up with the ever-changing trends of the current technology market. The Nottingham Building Society is one such example and has significantly improved its storage capability with a Nexsan solution.
To plan for future growth, The Nottingham Building Society has modernised its IT infrastructure and consolidated its storage needs to significantly reduce power consumption, increase capacity and improve reliability with Nexsan’s high-density storage platform.
The Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham) is an award-winning building society and estate agency which operates online and via a network of 67 branches across 11 counties. The eighth largest building society in the UK by assets, with the fifth biggest branch presence, it offers a broad range of building society services such as mortgages and savings, as well as independent financial planning, whole-of-market mortgage advice and local estate agency services.
Founded in 1849 by local Quaker, Samuel Fox, the modern mutual is owned by its members with a long and proud history of offering financial support and advice to local communities.
While these values have stayed the same, the company has continued to grow and in recent years it has evolved with ambitions to offer a true omni-channel experience to its customers.
With expansion plans firmly underway, The Nottingham embarked on an IT modernisation programme, with the goal of improving IT storage capacity and stability. With online savings accounts and a variety of other solutions in its portfolio relying on a secure storage infrastructure, the company needed to ensure its IT needs could be met both now and in the future. A major part of this was also the need to consolidate its IT; The Nottingham had numerous data centres and decided to consolidate this down to three, to help streamline operations and minimise maintenance.
Phillip Crocker, Distributed Technology Platform Manager at The Nottingham, explained: “It was definitely time for us to modernise our IT environment. We wanted something that was new and more reliable as we approached full capacity of the current system. With growth an integral part of the company’s roadmap, we needed to ensure our IT could support this.”
Nexsan’s E-Series E18P
The previous IT environment was built using a mixture of VMware and IBM hardware. The Nottingham decided to replace the IBM element as it had reached the end of its lifespan and explored a number of alternative solutions. As part of this, the organisation considered options from Dell, Nexsan and HP. Crocker said: “I was confident Nexsan would be a good fit for us and we also benchmarked with other providers so we could run a cost comparison, which affirmed our decision. We’ve been happy with the service – Nexsan has delivered what it promised and it was a good return on investment.”
With the help of partner, Softcat, The Nottingham replaced the old IBM solution with Nexsan’s E18P storage solution which runs underneath its VMware platform in its headquarters. Nexsan’s E-Series platform is designed to provide high-density, high-performance and scalable storage, ideal for organisations that need to boost storage and ROI.
In addition, the company wanted an environment that would be easy to set up and maintain. Deployment and migration took just over 30 minutes.
Since deployment, one of the main benefits has been the additional capacity. The E18P storage solution is designed to start small and can easily scale up to 648TB as it is needed. Currently the company is enjoying 20 times more capacity than was previously available, allowing more space on each user drive with plenty of scalability to meet future demands. Crocker added: “The additional capacity was a must. Nexsan has allowed us to meet our customer demands, giving us the ability to scale and ensure our data requirements are met now and in the future.”
Space was limited at its data centre so density was important. This extra capacity comes in half the rack space, helping to save on storage, power and cooling costs, fundamentally reducing the storage footprint.
Crocker concluded: “The system delivered the capacity, performance and stability that we need to allow us to modernise our IT infrastructure. This was essential for us to continue to deliver, innovate and grow our membership, offering customers a leading service that is supported by a reliable and robust IT.”
We asked Crocker some further questions about the solution. Here’s what he had to say:
What prompted your initial belief that Nexsan would be a good fit for the company?
One of the main things we looked for was reliability – it was absolutely key in this purchase. We wanted something not simple but simple to use and not overly complicated, and that absolutely fit the product that we bought. There’s other parts to it too like simple licensing – there was no complicated or capacity licensing or anything unusual like that, it was really straight-forward.
How important is it for The Nottingham Building Society to be able to scale?
One of the main things we use it for directly affects our user base so when our user base expanded, which it has done quite a lot over the last couple of years, we got to the point where the drive was filling up on a daily basis and preventing staff from doing their jobs. We can double what we’ve got fairly simply at the minute and it wouldn’t present us with any problems if we needed a big area to backup to or suddenly balloon our storage requirements – we now have plenty of space for it.
How satisfied were you with the time taken to install and utilise the solution?
We got it out of the box, into the rack and connected to the first server in about half an hour. This is significantly quicker than anything else I’ve ever dealt with that’s similar. It was really, really good for that. Our business revolves around our customers and our branches so the last thing we want to do is impact anybody stood in the branch waiting to be dealt with. Having the ability to not have to worry about that is huge. Good IT is when the users don’t know it’s even there and the solution allows us to achieve this.
How has the increased capacity the solution has enabled, benefitted the company in the long-term?
It means that if we suddenly need to expand staff quickly, we have the capacity to do so. If we needed to do anything unusual and suddenly needed loads of storage space for a project, we don’t need to wait to buy anything, we have it at our fingertips straight away and can react a lot quicker. The solution allows us to act quicker, more reliably and more efficiently.