Any business with 10 million customers would worry about downtime or lost data, but when your business is telecommunications, uptime is your business. Customers expect flawless telephone, data, and multimedia service from Shanghai Telecom Company, Ltd., and the Chinese communications company constantly improves its service and reliability with the latest innovations in IT. A recent investment in Symantec products has increased the company’s data protection and application availability while decreasing the cost of its storage management and storage hardware.
Shanghai Telecom customers and customer service generate 1,000 terabytes of data spread across a heterogeneous server and storage platform. This data pool grows an average of 100 terabytes per year. All this data puts the Shanghai backup and recovery strategy under severe strain. It has recently abandoned its previous backup solutions because it couldn’t handle the job. “We were constantly working on problems,” recalls Shen Song Jie, engineer at Shanghai Telecom. “I had two full-time staff members spending 100 per¬cent of their time managing backups. We couldn’t even do recoveries ourselves—we had to contact the manufacturer each time we wanted to recover data, and it took a full business day just to get the request in.” Shen estimates that up to 55 percent of backups failed each day under the old system, causing the IT staff to constantly re-run jobs.
After careful consideration of available products, the IT staff installed Symantec NetBackup. With Netbackup’s increase in performance and reliability over the old backup software, the IT staff found a six-fold increase in the number of backup jobs they could run, with 100 percent efficiency in completed backup jobs.
With Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas Cluster Server, the IT staff could greatly improve storage utilization across its heterogeneous environment, saving hundreds of gigabytes of disk space. “We were able to save 60 percent on storage costs in 2008 because Veritas Storage Foun¬dation allowed us to greatly improve storage utilization across our IBM, HP, and EMC storage platforms,” says Shen. “Storage Foundation has already saved us USD 500,000. We achieved complete payback on the solution within one year.” The Storage Foundation central management console also decreased Shanghai Telecom IT staff requirements. Shen confirms that storage management requires 30 percent fewer hours using the Storage Foundation toolset, and the IT department receives far more accurate and useful reports and summaries of storage activities. Provisioning required at least an hour of downtime under the old system, but now is handled dynamically with no disruption to the storage production environment.
The Veritas Cluster Server also enables Shanghai Telecom to protect its most critical data, such as customer records and customer service CRM applications, with clustered failover capabilities. In the event the primary server or servers go out, its clustered backup server automatically steps in to provide seamless uptime for the application. The Shanghai facility uses 50 local clusters, each consisting of two nodes for its mission-critical applications. “We can fail over in less than five minutes, with zero data loss,” says Shen.
Veritas Volume Replicator mirrors data to the company’s disaster recovery facility 30 kilometers away. Similar protection is enabled for Shanghai Telecom Oracle database servers running Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) and Veritas Storage Foundation for Oracle RAC. Not only does this system provide disaster recovery for Oracle applications, but its disk accelerator technology also improves Oracle OLTP performance, eliminating I/O bottlenecks that Shanghai Telecom had experienced in the past. “The hot spots have been completely elimi-nated, and we’ve increased our transaction volume by 30 percent since implementing Storage Foundation for Oracle RAC, so it’s really been put to the test,” says Shen. “We no longer have I/O bottlenecks.”
As a telecommunications provider, Shanghai Telecom understands the importance of service and support better than many businesses, and it ranks its Symantec support experience as ‘superior.’ From training classes and education services, to the Essential Support Services program, the Shanghai Telecom IT staff receives fast, responsive support, according to Shen.
Overall, the telecommunications provider has found that Symantec products and support enable it to provide better service to its own customers. “Symantec tools have made it pos¬sible for us to unify and centralize manage¬ment across an extremely large, diverse IT infrastructure,” Shen concludes. “We’re providing better service and spending less time doing it.”
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