The Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC), home of the renowned Chelsea pensioners, bears a unique responsibility for managing information. This has prompted it recently to acquire and deploy a data archiving and backup product built around BridgeHead Software’s HT integrated storage management (ISM) platform.

Archiving and backup has to be carried out carefully by the Royal Hospital because it is subject to complex data protection and compliancy pressures of multiple agencies - it is associated with the British Military, is a healthcare facility, and is also a national historical treasure.

Given these mounting regulatory pressures, the hospital decided to deploy an e-mail archiving system to ensure e-mail communications had an audit trail. After researching the options, the hospital selected the an integrated mix of Quest Archive Manager and BridgeHead’s HT FileStore as the best choice for managing and securing e-mail and also file data.

BridgeHead’s HT FileStore software also plays a role in expanding the Quest Archive Manager store into a robust, multi-copy and multi-location archive that can automatically accommodate the long-term physical secondary storage needs of the virtual e-mail archive.

The RHC needed to ensure a high level of data availability for its archive and decided to deploy HT FileStore to create and manage a multi-copy archive on behalf of Archive Manager. To do this it uses a pair of separate NetApp NAS (Network-Attached Storage) units, each placed in a different physical location at the relatively large RHC site in Chelsea, London.

According to Isabel Prieto-Cordero, RHC’s IT and Telecommunications Manager, the subsequent evaluation of BridgeHead software led to a rapid expansion of the scope of or the entire project: “We were actually amazed at what we could do with the full BridgeHead functionality set and our ability to potentially expand our archiving plans to include the future essentially all of our data.”

She and RHC realised that HT FileStore could easily be upgraded to deliver several important capabilities in addition to managing the e-mail repository. These included:

1) A backup/recovery capability significantly more versatile and useful than their previous software. Prieto-Cordero was accustomed to needing at least an entire day to fully rebuild and recover failed servers with their previous backup software. Tests with BridgeHead HT Backup demonstrated that that process could be reduced to approximately one hour.
2) Archiving of general unstructured file data in addition to, and fully coordinated with, e-mail archiving from the Quest product.

The RHC team was particularly swayed by this second feature. It took advantage of the same secondary storage and network structure for file archiving that supported e-mail archiving.

Now it could set up automated policies to identify general files to be secured in the dual-NAS repository with the option to remove or stub those files conserving primary disk space. They were also impressed with HT FileStore’s advanced meta-data and content search capabilities, which like Archive Manager’s handling of e-mail, makes the archive more efficient for finding and analyzing information in it. Furthermore, the archive would provide access controls and auditing capabilities, which are now essential for compliant archiving.

Over time, automated policies will be activated to take advantage of the archive to either stub or entirely remove older, less-likely-to-be-accessed, files and e-mail entities from primary disk. Through this automated grooming of primary disk, RHC will be able to avoid the continual need to increase expensive primary storage that plagues most IT organisations. It will also be better able to meet its compliance goals.