Metro City Government

The city reduces data storage costs, increases the speed of data backups with a refreshed data backup system from STORServer and the newest features in IBM® Spectrum® Protect.


Organization: Top 100 U.S. City Government
Industry: Local government
Location: U.S. Metropolis
Size: City serving 250-500,000 residents


  • Ample data storage to accommodate the city’s growing data requirements
  • Flexibility for future data growth
  • Additional raw storage capacity


  • A long-term solution that adapts to the city’s evolving needs
  • Easy to use interface and appliance that is managed within minutes per day
  • An enterprise solution that protects physical and virtual environments
  • Multiple disaster recovery options
  • Simple to use appliances and software with one point of contact for support questions
  • Product: STORServer Backup Appliances Powered by IBM

With a partnership spanning nearly two decades, STORServer’s built to order data backup appliances have progressed to meet the city’s changing needs.

“The combination of STORServer and IBM Spectrum Protect simply works and has met our requirements from day one,” said the system administrator for the city. “Some of my counterparts are on their third iteration of backup technology and are still trying to find a technology partner that meets their requirements. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have a backup system that meets all of our needs, even as those requirements have evolved from the start of our partnership 17 years ago.”

STORServer is a trusted, long-term solution for the city with a simple and easy to use interface that can be managed in just minutes per day. Even as application and hardware requirements change, STORServer’s data backup appliances fit every environment.

After six years of continuous top-notch performance from its previous STORServer data backup system, the city decided to upgrade its current configuration in preparation for its evolving data backup needs and a necessary increase in raw storage capacity. Certain vendors used by the park department store pictures of their completed work on the city’s server, which inflates the overall storage footprint the city backs up daily.

In addition, all the city’s new projects are stored on virtualized servers, which increases its storage footprint and requires additional storage capacity. Under this new configuration, additional shelves of storage can easily be added to allow for future IT projects, such as mobile-based applications. STORServer’s total appliance solution scales with ease as the city’s data grows and is simple to upgrade and install with backups beginning on the first day.

The Solution

STORServer helped the city implement a new primary and secondary data backup system that serves them well today and will evolve with their needs over time.

An enterprise solution that protects both physical and virtual environments, STORServer combines a simplified approach with a powerful appliance solution that meets the city’s needs now and has the ability to adapt to their future requirements. A public cloud option is available with STORServer should there be a future need to transition to the cloud.

While the city prefers tape for its disaster recovery copy, STORServer offers multiple disaster recovery options, including appliance-to-appliance replication and appliance-to-cloud options. Each of these disaster recovery options comes with STORServer’s simplified U.S. based customer support. A single point of customer service contact, for both the primary and secondary sites, makes it easy to troubleshoot any issues and minimize downtime regardless of where the issue originates.

With flexible software licensing capabilities, the appliance refresh also included upgrading to the newest version of IBM Spectrum Protect. This software offers next-generation deduplication capabilities to reduce the city’s storage footprint. The progressive incremental forever backup technology also minimizes the network requirements and storage resource utilization.

Offering a simple way for the city to manage its data backup in just minutes per day, STORServer Console (SSC) and STORServer Virtual Machine Backup (VMB) software were also included in the city’s new setup. In this configuration, policy-based management provides granular control at the file, folder or server level. In addition, instant restore features for their virtual machines reduce end-user downtime impact to near zero.

The following are the new primary and secondary backup system configurations:

Primary Backup: STORServer A740 and IBM V3700 – Located in the city center area, the STORServer enterprise backup appliance enables the city to experience faster processing power and take advantage of IBM Spectrum Protect’s latest features, including deduplication capabilities to reduce the city’s backup storage requirements. The city’s primary backup data is kept on disk for quick restore and to take advantage of IBM Spectrum Protect’s deduplication feature, which reduces backup storage requirements.

This configuration also includes IBM Spectrum Protect Suite licensing, which offers simplified pricing and licensing with a tiered per-terabyte metric. This licensing enables the agency to have access to a suite of backup software products, including database and mail agents, along with IBM Spectrum Protect™ for Virtual Environments, which the city uses for its VMware® environment.

Secondary Backup: STORServer Backup Appliance – The city’s secondary backup site, located at a facility about five miles away from the primary downtown data center, uses a STORServer backup appliance with internal storage. This location has several critical servers requiring protection that house data separately from the city center location. This STORServer backup appliance is kept onsite for quick recovery of these critical servers. For its disaster recovery copy, the city uses an IBM TS3100 tape library with LT07 drives, upgrading to 15TB compressed capacity. These tapes are sent offsite and are accessed only in the event the city is unable to restore data from the primary appliance.

The city benefits from the easy software licensing and simplified, streamlined support with a single point of contact for customer service on the entire environment. Its new data backup implementation lets the city make the best use of IBM Spectrum Protect software features and move data more efficiently, allowing for a best practices implementation of data protection. In fact, the new appliances recently restored 10TB of data quickly and seamlessly only requiring a point and click by the administrator.

Additional external storage can be added as needed to the appliance server. In the future, the city could elect to replicate data between both locations or even leverage the cloud for disaster recovery copy purposes. The secondary disaster recovery backup location provides peace of mind. For example, if there is an event that negatively affects the primary data center, the secondary appliance will immediately be able to begin restoring operations. The tape storage is held in a separate location to ensure that a disaster recovery copy of the city’s data is always available to restore data and functionality.

The Results

  • Achieved outstanding deduplication savings, which reduced storage requirements
  • Streamlined appliances and backup processes that allow for future data growth
  • Increased data backup and storage efficiency
  • Overall reduction of storage footprint, resulting in cost savings
  • Increased savings on software licensing and reduced infrastructure costs with deduplication features
  • Increased tape capacity of up to 15TB compressed with LTO7 media
  • Reduced daily processing time in half, from six hours to three hours

Metro City Government Case Study