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CBM Archives puts crime data on Zadara on-premises storage

CBM Archives ditched its traditional SAN and moved critical crime data into the Zadara on-premises cloud. The company experienced faster performance and reduced capital costs.

After struggling with multiple storage systems and being restricted by tight budgets, document management firm CBM Archives turned to private cloud on-premises storage to improve performance and eliminate the need for upgrades every three years.

CBM Archives switched from three small Oracle SANs to Zadara On-Premise as-a-Service this year. The Austin, Texas, company integrates document imaging of crime records for law enforcement agencies. It archives critical documents that include criminal histories, FBI-compliant records and cold case evidence.

CBM stores half a million documents in the on-premises cloud. Its customers include police departments and justice departments for states and large cities.

CBM Archives' president, Jerry Sanders, said moving to Zadara on-premises storage increased I/O output by a factor of three, while speeding backups as well.

"There were performance problems [with the old storage], especially when we were reaching 70% to 80% capacity," he said.

CBM's budget cycle depends on government agencies. That prompted it to either overbuy to make sure it had enough capacity to last several years, or risk under-purchasing and not having enough storage to last through the times when budgets were tight.

Zadara on-premises storage can be a SAN or NAS configuration, and customers can choose a combination of hard disk drives and solid-state drives. Users can scale the capacity and performance up and down from an online console, and they can also replicate to the public cloud for a hybrid setup.

Zadara's storage can also run in a private cloud, but CBM chose the on-premises public cloud version.

Sanders said he looked at other vendors, but Zadara's on-premises storage allowed CBM to test-drive the cloud service for a month to ensure it met its performance requirements.

The disk rebuild time is 30 minutes. In other systems, it could take up to two weeks to rebuild.
Jerry Sanderspresident, CBM Archives

"They allowed us to work on a pilot system without commitment," he said.

The other reason Zadara cloud storage was attractive to Sanders was it gave him the opportunity to do triple mirroring. With triple mirroring, data is spread across three nodes, so information is accessed from the closest, fastest and least-busy node. The combined speed of the additional copies allows data to be pulled in parallel from all three copies.

For most read workloads, a three-way mirror provides 50% more IOPS and bandwidth. It also helps when large drives go down.

"The disk rebuild time is 30 minutes," Sanders said. "In other systems, it could take up to two weeks to rebuild."

Sanders said CBM is still migrating data onto the Zadara On-Premise Private Cloud service, but it has cut down from three SANs to one Zadara Virtual Private Storage Array with 210 TB of capacity. The cloud storage service uses the ZIOS Intelligent Object Storage.

Sanders said Zadara on-premises storage is providing 24-hour support.

"If disks go out and they start failing, we get email alerts that the disk is being replaced," he said.

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