NetApp Helps the Eden Project Move to a More Sustainable and Manageable IT Ecosystem
The Eden Project (www.edenproject.com) is a unique organisation, a registered charity that uses exhibits, events, workshops, and educational programmes to remind people of our dependence on, and connection
to, the natural world. The Cornwall-based organisation welcomes over a million people every year to join in its events and learn from its exhibits. Since its purpose is to engage, entertain, and inspire the imagination of
as wide an audience as possible, it also mounts an extensive range of programmes and projects with schools, colleges, and universities, as well as delivers national campaigns.
Education, not-for-profit, and tourism
Achieve a flexible, easy-to-manage, more power-efficient green IT infrastructure by recalling previously outsourced and now near-retirement technologies.
Working with virtualisation specialist S3 Consulting (www.thinks3. co.uk), the Eden Project combined a NetApp® storage array with VMware® virtualisation, built on an existing Cisco network architecture, to centralise data, enable easier management and flexible work loads, and build in flexibility for future growth.
- Deduplication of the virtual environment produced efficiency savings in both time management and storage cost.
- The Eden Project also significantly reduced its carbon footprint, meeting its green credentials.
NetApp Deduplication NetApp FlexVol®
NetApp Operations Manager NetApp RAID-DP®
NetApp SnapshotTM NetApp System Manager
VMware Infrastructure Enterprise
Refresh IT infrastructure through a virtualised environment to maximise flexibility and minimise environmental impact
Following a decision to bring previously outsourced IT back in house, Jon Curry, director of HR and ICT at the Eden Project, knew that the inherited technology infra- structure had come to the point at which renewal was a priority: “We saw that our 25 servers were all at around 5 years in their service life, so an upgrade was inevitable,” he says.
An equally strong business driver was the need to find a solution that met the complex storage demands of the environment. “Storage is an issue for us because we
generate a lot of data on a temporary basis as we carry out so many research projects on the natural world and plant life and conduct so many campaigns,” he says. “We then have to find the optimal way to look after and work with that data post-project, and manage the ongoing burden of the core business data such a thriving organisation generates,” Curry continues.
The Eden Project also needed to deliver a greener IT environment, saving on carbon footprint, curbing electricity drain, and reducing its CO2 emissions.
The Eden Project went to market to see if any integrated solution to the upgrade and to the storage and green IT requirement could be found that would deliver the flexibility and innovation it needed. Virtualisation specialist S3 Consulting stepped forward with a refresh proposal focused on an in-depth commitment to virtualisation. This utilised the proven partnership of VMware software and NetApp’s efficient storage solutions
to complement the existing Cisco network infrastructure.
One-month project implementation delivers ROI within 18 months
“We were originally convinced this was a long journey, planning for a three-year window,” recalls Curry, “but the solution proposed by S3 not only guaranteed to deliver the efficiency gains, but also promised to create a platform for virtualising the rest of our estate that would exceed our expectations in a much shorter window.”
Centring on the NetApp storage array, the refreshed virtual environment was delivered in half the time allotted and has proved its efficient IT promise by returning on project investment within 18 months. With a stunning 75% server replacement achievement, which was in fact a much higher target than was first set, a flexible IT architecture is now in place that provides Eden with exactly what both its research and business users had been missing. S3 Consulting has also helped the in-house IT team at the Eden Project
to take on continued virtualisation at the desktop level themselves.
The new, refreshed infrastructure is a combination of two VMware ESX enterprise- level virtualisation platforms and the Data ONTAP® based NetApp FAS2020 array, complemented (so far) by seven terabytes of capacity. “We’ve already added a second shelf to the FAS drives, as we find the NetApp high storage density very appropriate for our specific needs here,” notes Curry. The even better news is that this functionality has not come at a high price. So far, Eden estimates it has spent £75,000 on the refresh project, a figure Curry says is offset not only in efficiency terms but also in the solution’s flexibility and its ability to scale in future.
“In effect, the whole virtual platform we’ve moved to has already paid for itself,” he claims. He also believes at least £20,000 has been saved directly on the storage front due to centralisation of data and the ability of NetApp deduplication to unlock efficiency gains.
“Storage is an issue for us because we generate a lot of data on a temporary basis as we carry out so many research projects on the natural world and plant life and conduct so many campaigns … In effect, the whole virtual platform we’ve moved to has already paid for itself.”
Director of HR and ICT, the Eden Project
Deduplication—a return to a storage “Eden”?
The benefits of a virtualised environment in terms of reduced server footprint have been swiftly delivered to the Eden Project. “We have moved away from the physical servers we used to have and now have 35 or so virtual ones doing what we think is a much better job, especially in terms of resilience and easier management,” explains Curry.
The team is also convinced that the project has met the business’s green IT goals, with Curry praising the efficiencies gained by the new technologies deployed. “We have seen a 60% reduction in power and cooling costs and a remarkable 43,905 kg reduction of CO2 emissions in our first 12 months,” says Curry.
The unique deduplication power of NetApp technology underpins the performance that has impressed Curry and his team: “We’re a 10-year-old organisation that’s been doing quite a lot of technical research over that time, so we had accumulated a lot of valuable historical data,” he says. “The problem was that a lot of it was created for project reasons and then was difficult to manage, access, and file in any way that really satisfied us.” S3 claimed that NetApp’s operational-level dedupe could be the answer. “We’ve been getting on a consistent basis between 30 and 45% deduplication.
That’s very impressive and has proven hugely valuable for us,” says Curry.
All in all, it appears that the green, flexible, and efficient IT goals for the new IT environment have been exceeded. The Eden Project is now future ready, and has significantly reduced its carbon footprint.
As a result, this fantastic window into the wonders of nature has ended up with its own balanced IT ecosystem.