Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets is a division of the Lloyds TSB Group, one of the leading UK-based financial services group with assets of over £300 billion and approximately 70,000 employees.
The Corporate Markets Division offers relationship banking and has expertise in providing comprehensive financial solutions, across a broad range of asset classes including: risk management; cash management; trade; structured investments; specialist financing; and HR/pension services.
The division’s IT team supports these activities and is also responsible for meeting the information technology requirements of an active trading floor operation consisting of more than 200 trading positions.
After recently moving into new headquarters at 10 Gresham Street in London, the IT team faced a number of challenges that went beyond the relocation of their operations. Compliance regulations in the financial industry were on the rise. There was also rapid expansion of the division’s product capabilities.
It meant that the backup side of things received a penetrating review because operations there were time-consuming and difficult..
120 DLT drives
The existing backup process was tape-based—approximately 120 locally-attached DLT drives that, over time, had evolved to include a variety of software and machine types. Also, in the last year alone, the backup data capacity requirements had more than tripled as the division had embarked on a highly successful growth strategy.
Given the mission-critical nature of the trading operations, the tapes were being transferred offsite daily to the contingency site. The IT team decided it needed to upgrade the data protection system.
The backup software was Symantec/ Veritas NetBackup 6.
Moving away from tape
Colin Everett, Head of IT strategy and architecture at Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets, said: “We made a policy decision quite early on that we didn’t want tape for backup. We needed a level of scalability that mapped to our division’s aggressive growth plans and the locally-attached tape drives simply required too much administration effort. As the division grew, the whole process became more cumbersome.”
A main driver was manageability. Everett said: “ROI was not the main focus for us, manageability was. However, with 120 disparate backups going on and tapes being compiled and brought offsite on a daily basis, the opportunity for ROI was obviously quite huge.”
A long time system integrator used by Lloyds, Solid State Solutions (S3), introduced them to Data Domain and its disk-based Enterprise Protection Storage systems for disk backup and network-based disaster recovery. Everett noted that data compression and network-based replication capabilities were what first led his team to consider Data Domain.
At one point, they had considered using virtual tape library (VTL) products and replicating to another VTL over an extended storage area network (SAN). But over and above the high cost, the resulting system would have been difficult to support and scale.
The Lloyds team decided to trial the Data Domain products. A thirty day pilot of the actual proposed system was then run. It went very well and Lloyds went ahead with S3’s proposal.
Lloyds implemented two Data Domain DD430 restorers at the Gresham Street building and one DD460 restorer at its remote contingency site 80 miles away. Data Domain DD Replicator software was used in conjunction with the firm’s existing 1GB/sec link to replicate backup data to the contingency site where final tape consolidation takes place.
The initial amount of backup data was approximately 4 terabytes. It won’t stay at that level as Everett notes, “That will ramp rapidly.” Data Domain gives them the scaling capacity they need.
What has been gained?
A main point of the exercise was better disaster recovery: “The key objective is to be able to get our front office up and running as soon as possible in the event of a disruption in London. At this point, practically speaking, we’re replicating in real time. Within minutes of backup completion in London, data is replicated and available at our contingency site located outside the City. We’ve achieved that using an existing non-dedicated 1 GB/sec link, which speaks well for the performance of the de-duplication-enabled Data Domain appliances and the network efficiencies realized with the DD Replicator software.”
Today, Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets enjoys the performance and reliability of disk-based backup and network-based disaster recovery systems. Thirty days worth of data is now retained locally and high speed restores are readily available both locally and from the contingency site.
The risks associated with tape handling and tape media failures, and the time and money spent on administering the tape-based backup processes have been eliminated. Expenditures on tape media for local backup have been also been eradicated, as have outside costs for tape transportation to the remote contingency site.
Everett said a huge amount of effort has been saved: “The overnight process of changing the tapes, dealing with backup failures and retrieving tapes to do our compliance testing took an incredible amount of time and effort. Now we can turn our attention to more strategic items, give better support to our internal clients and focus on helping to manage the firm’s growth. With the inherent scalability and high performance of our backup systems, we can now respond to new product deployments more effectively - without having to worry whether our backup capabilities will slow us down.”
“The Data Domain solution was very cost effective, but cost was not the primary consideration for us,” says Everett. “With the opening of our new flagship building and new state-of-the-art trading floor, we wanted cutting edge technology for our backup and contingency operations that we could both trust and be proud of. We chose Data Domain.”