• Housing authority for largest Native American tribe in nation improves operations with Dell-driven IT infrastructure
  • Seamless integration of Dell AppAssure backup and recovery software with Dell Storage PS Series SAN elevates storage and data protection
  • Dell servers and solutions drive IT efficiencies and performance improvements

Dell today announced that the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation (HACN) has slashed IT workloads by up to 50 percent by deploying a future-ready IT infrastructure, featuring Dell software, server, storage and backup solutions. As a result, HACN ensures uninterrupted delivery of vital housing assistance to more than 315,000 citizens of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the United States.

In 2012, HACN became a separate entity from the Cherokee Nation, which previously provided the authority’s IT infrastructure and staff resources. Faced with an immediate need to build a future-ready IT infrastructure, HACN embraced industry-leading solutions for server virtualization, simplified network storage, fast network connectivity as well as easy and reliable data backup and recovery. In particular, it was critical to deploy an enterprise-class data protection solution that ensured maximum data availability for nearly 200 HACN employees at 19 offices across 14 counties in Northeastern Oklahoma.

“Having reliable backup and recovery is essential to the Housing Authority—if systems or data cannot be restored in a timely manner, it could affect the entire organization,” explained Tonia Williams, CIO and IT Director of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. “Our services to those in need would stop; staff and vendors would not get paid and funding could be jeopardized.”

Building an IT Infrastructure from the Ground Up with Dell

HACN architected its new IT infrastructure literally from an empty server room, focusing on best-of-class hardware and software solutions. The organization’s five-person IT team overcame major budget and time constraints to deploy a Dell-driven infrastructure, including Dell PowerEdge blade servers to accommodate a heavily virtualized Microsoft Hyper-V environment.

As part of Dell’s comprehensive portfolio, HACN also implemented scalable Dell Storage PS Series  arrays to help optimize both storage performance and capacity. Realizing how well Dell AppAssure could reduce recovery time objectives and increase recovery point objectives, HACN next deployed the award-winning backup and recovery software as a critical piece of its new IT infrastructure. “Dell AppAssure and Dell Storage PS Series go hand-in hand,” Williams added. “We chose AppAssure because it fit not only our needs and our budget but also our circumstances—lack of time, experience and staff.”

Accelerating Backup and Recovery While Easing Administration

Thanks to AppAssure’s out-of-the-box functionality and streamlined operation, HACN was able to easily implement backup, recovery and replication capabilities with a minimal learning curve. As a result, the authority now safeguards 31 virtual machines by taking snapshots of most of them every three hours. Simple and verified backups are complemented by equally seamless recoveries, which enable restoring a single file, message, data object or complete machine. As a result, HACN has recovered an entire virtual server in less than 15 minutes. Previously, restoring from tape-based backups would have taken hours, if not days.

Global deduplication, combined with an initial 3:1 storage compression ratio, has enabled HACN to reduce storage costs while yielding major savings in operating costs. “We have saved a great deal of time, which ultimately is staff salary,” said Williams. “AppAssure has cleared up as much as 50 percent of staff time that now can be focused proactively on other critical business needs, such as disaster recovery.”

Dell Simplifies Disaster Recovery

With its Dell-driven IT infrastructure, plans are now underway to deploy a secondary site to ensure uninterrupted services in the event of a disaster. As part of its disaster recovery strategy, HACN is replicating data to a remote site with the use of AppAssure and Dell EqualLogic technology. “Our Dell solutions have produced a much better ROI than other products in meeting our needs, size and budget,” Williams concluded. “Most important, they’ve helped us move from being reactive to proactive in fulfilling our mission. I expect Dell to be there for us, as the company has been in the past, the present and well into the future.”

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