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Scenic Vilas County Delivers Security, Data Protection, and Veeam Backups with JetStor Solutions


THE ORGANIZATION

For people interested in picturesque beauty and outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and fishing, Vilas County in upper northeast Wisconsin is hard to beat. Over 1,000 square miles in size, the county features one of the world’s largest arrays of freshwater lakes—1,318, all formed by glaciers—as well as 73 rivers and streams. This paradise offers hundreds of thousands of acres of public land and nearly 90 recreational trails that are enjoyed by bikers, hikers, and other outdoors fans.

It is no surprise that tourism is at the core of Vilas County’s economy. Logging, forestry, construction, and government also help support its population of over 23,000. The bucolic county was founded in 1893.

THE CHALLENGE

Governance for Vilas County occurs at Eagle River, its largest city and a popular vacation and retirement destination. There, the county has a courthouse, a jail, and other governmental facilities, all of which are supported by a local data center.

To support public safety, the county launched an initiative to record all activity within its courthouse and jail. Initially, it had to rely on VHS cameras, but this approach was not feasible at the scale the county wanted. VHS tapes had to be replaced multiple times every day for each camera and then stored somewhere. The process was cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly.

Vilas County then switched to digital cameras when the technology became available, and began saving its digital surveillance footage on an HP MSA storage device.

“The HP solution was costly for its capacity,” said Mike Duening, I.T. Director for Vilas County. “As a county government, we lack the budgets of large corporate enterprises. Moreover, as we added more cameras, the platform didn’t have sufficient throughput to support them.”

THE SOLUTION

• JetStor 824iXD Arrays from AC&NC

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

• Four JetStor 824iXD Arrays, each with 24x 16TB drives

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

Vilas County replaced its HP system with a 4U, 24-bay JetStor 824iXD Array. “The cost of the JetStor platform was unbeatable for the amount of storage we needed,” said Duening. “There was nothing on the market close to it for the price. Once we saw how great it worked and its value, it was easy to buy additional units as our storage demands grew.”

Vilas County now has four JetStor 824iXD devices, three at its data center and one at a facility several miles away that serves as backup. The county has nearly 200 digital cameras at its jail and courthouse continuously covering every hallway and corridor as well as the grounds outside. The county is replacing its current cameras with high-definition 4K cameras, with some able to record audio as well as video. Duening noted that “We’re prepared for the additional 4K resolution because we have nearly 1.5 petabytes of total storage in our JetStor systems.”

The surveillance footage is stored as mirrored copies on two JetStor 824iXD arrays for 14 days. It is then compressed and kept for 121 days in compliance with Wisconsin statutes.

For even greater security, the county deploys its third JetStor platform for disaster recovery, and uses Veeam software to back up its important files and records on the fourth JetStor device at the remote site. The county performs full backups weekly and incremental backups over the course of each week.

“Our jail surveillance is particularly critical because if there’s an incident and someone gets hurt, we must have a video record,” said Duening. “That’s why we store and back up the footage, as well as our vital records, on JetStor solutions. They’ve given us ironclad performance and availability for years.”

HOW WE DID IT

The county linked its JetStor devices to two Cisco 4500 switches at the primary data center and connected its backup JetStor array to another pair of Cisco switches at the remote site. The switches at the data center connect to the Milestone camera management solution operating in a virtual machine on a Lenovo server. All links are 10Gb speed. The Milestone application, in turn, connects to the nearly 200 Axis cameras, which are each standard IP devices on the network.

The video footage is sent to the Milestone system, which stores it on two JetStor arrays for 14 days and then compresses the files for long-term storage. These devices store over 600 terabytes of surveillance files. The backup facility connects to the data center via a pair of 10 Gb fibre links.

“Adding JetStor solutions to our VMware environment was easy and far less complicated than adding HP systems to our network,” said Michael Brooks, Systems Administrator for Vilas County. “We’re able to do it ourselves, which saves the county a lot of money.”

Each JetStor device has 24 16 TB drives, for 384 terabytes of capacity and features dual active RAID controllers. Even if a controller fails, the device keeps on performing. For added data protection, the arrays are configured for RAID 5.

CONCLUSION

“Once we saw how well our first JetStor storage system worked, we knew the future would be with AC&NC,” said Duening. “The JetStor arrays are a perfect fit for us. We’re storing critical data and surveillance footage easily and affordably.”

Additionally, Vilas County may replace its HP Nimble storage platforms, on which it’s saving records, forms, and other key files, with JetStor solutions. “Our legacy storage devices are costly,” concluded Duening. “By again turning to JetStor, we’ll save our taxpayers more money while quickly and reliably delivering the services they expect.”

ABOUT ADVANCED COMPUTER & NETWORK CORPORATION (AC&NC)

AC&NC™ / JetStor meets the evolving needs for data storage, protection, and management. We leverage leading technologies to offer high-value solutions for NAS, SANs, clouds, and hyper-converged infrastructures (HCIs).  Since 1994, our customers have spanned virtually every industry, and range from Fortune 500 enterprises to small and medium-sized firms.  We support environments from data centers and clouds to branch offices and remote sites. 

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