Case study: Norwich Union

Company Background

Norwich Union is the UK's number one insurance provider and part of the world's largest insurance group, Aviva. With 15 per cent of the UK market share, its main focus is on individual and small business insurance.

Situation

Due to its high number of customers, Norwich Union has a huge amount of data to store. It had previously operated a tier storage system whereby each department asked for tiers depending on their application and database needs. Unfortunately this led to the departments requesting higher tiers than were needed, which in turn meant a rise in costs and an inefficient use of the tiers that would have been perfectly suitable for the departments.

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Roly Goram, operational technical authority for Norwich Union's IT operations, said: "We have a large customer base and it is growing continuously. At the same time we are subject to increased compliance requirements and growing volumes of unstructured data."

"It's our duty to make sure we can handle customer requirements quickly, accurately and reliably meaning downtime in the storage environment that keeps all their data safe is not an option."

Solution

The company chose to migrate one of its data centres to a different location and create a virtualised storage environment across the board. Hitachi Data Systems helped the firm put in a migration and virtualisation strategy.

It decided to refresh the storage system rather than move the existing and dated hardware to another location so it implemented Hitachi's Universal Storage Platform V and Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage 1000 systems, focusing on reducing the operational costs for the departments and offering enhanced de-duplication abilities.

Goram said: "We had high expectations from the start. We wanted the simplicity of a single supplier relationship but the cost benefits of a dual supplier relationship. We were pleased to find that the solution put forward by Hitachi tackled all of our concerns head on, from the technology right through to the cost model."

Benefits

There have been savings in both time and cost. Norwich Union can now manage its two data centres from a single interface. It also allows them to better allocate the storage that they have using the correct level for what is needed, not over providing. This optimises the storage use and in turn speeds up the process when accessing it.

It was initially implemented as a test but it is starting to roll out to the fully virtualised storage environment as suggested by Hitachi.

Goram said: "As the migration progresses, the operational cost efficiencies and performance gains will become even more apparent. Capacity and utilisation levels will increase and we're look forward to seeing our overall storage infrastructure become much easier to manage."

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