Giant steps are what you take, to mis-quote Sting, when you're Moonwalking. The Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (the L&D), in Luton, UK, has deployed Moonwalk software as an information management scheme for its Novell Netware environment. Moonwalk software proactively manages the migration, copying and movement of data throughout the network, and minimizes risk by providing disaster recovery capabilities.

The L&D Hospital is a medium-sized general hospital that provides a comprehensive range of medical and surgical services for more than 300,000 people in Luton, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and parts of Buckinghamshire, and is projected to expand to serve 500,000 patients over the next ten years.

L&D background

As part of the UK's National Health Service (NHS), the L&D Hospital is bound by the Data Protection Act of 1998, rules of patient confidentiality, as well as the Freedom of Information Act, requiring staff such as Keith Bringloe, Technical Operations Manager, to store more and more data on NetWare file servers – commonly a very large number of small files.

Bringloe needed a data management system to look after his file population effectively. The L&D Hospital has multiple terabytes of data across all its systems, but the half terabyte on its NetWare servers proved to be an especial challenge. Many vendors could not handle it. Moonwalk could.

Moonwalk background

Moonwalk, a file migration startup in Australia, has introduced what it boldly describes as 'the most all-inclusive data management and protection software on Earth.' The product is available for all major operating systems and supports most storage platforms.

Moonwalk describes its system as a policy-driven HSM-style (hierarchical storage management) tool that can move or copy files between storage tiers, or for consolidation or migration projects, without needing to reset clients or applications with the new address of the files.

It protects customers' data and reduces backup loads by automatically moving data from primary storage to lower-cost devices according to user-defined rules and policies. The stateless architecture requires no additional overhead and is completely transparent to users and applications, with no introduced points of potential failure. It has extremely small-footprint agents, each with its own NFS client, which are installed on enterprise servers to execute settable policies as scheduled from a centralized management location.

The software is non-disruptive and it only takes about an hour for an average Moonwalk installation to be fully operational.

Implementing the Moonwalk technology provided the L&D with a greatly enhanced and unified approach to data management, and a framework for ongoing improvement in the future because of its scalability.

Moonwalk at the L&D

"All clinical applications are mission-critical in a hospital setting, but in operational terms, email and user filestores are the ones that are most visible if there is a failure," said Bringloe. "Moonwalk is enabling us to rationalize and manage storage more effectively, reduce the backup window, and improve data management, as well as accountability and reporting in the Novell Netware environment. We anticipate being able to reallocate data storage, as well as a significant amount of valuable human resource’s time, effectively and efficiently."

Moonwalk’s software capability can help IT administrators understand how, when, and by whom their data is used.

The Moonwalk CEO, Peter Harvey, said: "The L&D is able to control hospital data according to very granular criteria such as age, size, location, file type, file name, file creator and even more precise metadata for improved cost efficiencies, increased data security, intelligent storage allocation, and less bloated systems."

“Moonwalk software was simple to install, set up and configure,” said Bringloe. "It is intuitive to use and can manage other data and storage platforms, such as Windows, NAS, or SAN if we require this in the future. The interaction from the user’s perspective is seamless. Anyone using NetWare file stores and having data management problems, or just looking for a data management system that is simple to install and use, and cost-effective, then they should look at Moonwalk."

Recently Moonwalk has reworked its software to suit remote and disk-to-disk backup, because its customers have begun using the product that way. It has also announced its Universal File Area Network (FAN). Moonwalk’s FAN supports all major existing hardware and operating systems platforms. The company says its use can immediately improve enterprise data management and migration across heterogeneous environments throughout a global unified namespace. That's something that the L&D might consider.