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Van insurer saves truck-loads through server and storage refresh

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UK van insurance broker Autonet Insurance Services has saved more than 90 per cent on the cost of its ICT and storage infrastructure by virtualising and replacing elements of its old server and storage resources.

The company began to think about migration to a virtualised infrastructure in 2009, and then began a migration in earnest in October 2010.

Autonet's new ICT and storage setup is built on the VMware ESXi ​platform and includes a NetApp FAS2040 in-house SAN and an off-site FAS2020 for disaster recovery.

The solution replaced some network-attached storage (NAS) and direct-attached storage solutions from a variety of vendors.

According to Autonet's head of IT, Nick Potts, this has reduced the company's cycle of expensive server purchasing.

"I was provisioning five to 10 servers per year at £5,000 a time and I was certain that this money could have been used far more efficiently," he said.

"We'd ended up with 30 servers or so but felt that a virtual refresh could solve a lot of these maintenance and cost issues, hopefully in one go."

In mid-2010, Potts assessed several storage solutions and opted for NetApp as he felt it most closely met his needs.

"I am very pleased with that decision," he said. "The implementation went ahead remarkably quickly, over just a four-day period last October, and since go-live, services have been delivered to just the standard I need them to be."

"I feel a giant weight had been taken off my mind. I know I now have a reliable data storage function matched by a full disaster recovery capability."

The "90 per cent" cost savings were derived from no longer having to regularly purchase new servers. In 2008 to 2009, Autonet bought 12 servers; and since the new implementation in October 2010, that has been reduced to two.

By Ben Malkin

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