IT and the Security Watch Dog: Keeping People and Property Safe with a Security System that Never Sleeps

Protection 1 is one of the nation’s largest full service security companies. We protect residences and businesses around the clock, around the country.

I like to think that we’re no protection 1different from any other IT organization in this: we have two primary imperatives to meet. The first is the business mandate: Be Available Always. Since we’re in the life-saving business, that’s especially important to us. The second is the technology mandate: Do More with Less.

Running Just to Stay in Place

When I first came to Protection 1, we were achieving the first half: we were always available. But we were not hitting the second. Instead of doing more with less, we were constantly doing the same with more. Ours was an always-expanding patchwork infrastructure. Lots of different servers from different vendors and a range of storage and backup solutions.

Today, the picture is entirely different. Working closely with our key vendors—EMC, VMware, VCE, Microsoft and Cisco—and with the invaluable expertise of our IT services partner, Alexander Open Systems – Protection 1 has completely refashioned our IT architecture.

Converged Infrastructure

At the heart of that architecture was the mandate to create the most highly converged infrastructure possible for us. We needed an infrastructure that ensured our monitoring and response services would always be available to our customers; and would give our developers the resources they need to create new solutions. We brought in VCE VBlock to provide that.

Protection 1

Now we can respond in real time to both internal demands, and to the demands that are constantly placed on us by our customers. VBlock is extensible—we can spin up servers or provide services to the network in real time to help keep our customers safe and empower our developers. That’s of great value across the business: for supporting customers, incorporating acquisitions, handling large data imports, ensuring business continuity, and providing an application development and test environment.

All-Flash Storage

We’re getting the highest performance for our applications from our EMC VNX loaded with all flash. Our SQL Server applications drive the business: from monitoring to sales to payroll. We’ve moved all our SQL Server data to a flash-loaded VNX, giving us the highest availability and letting us extend the storage pool in every direction instantly and effortlessly. The numbers tell the story: batch processes that used to take hours complete in minutes. Those that took days require just hours.

Backup and Recovery

We had, essentially, a different program to back up each of the data types we handled—that means six sets of operational costs, maintenance contracts, and skills. Everything was backed up to tape. All that has been brought together in our VNX storage array. Using Data Domain and Avamar to manage the backup, and to deduplicate and replicate all that data, has been a great success for us. We’re now backing up and restoring everything on a single system—a big cost saver. Here too the proof is in the numbers: what had been a 2-3 petabyte backup is now about 15 terabytes, lowering our overall storage costs.

Our converged, high performance infrastructure has made us more capable, more flexible and more scalable. We’ve lowered our operational costs, consolidated skills and resources, and improved performance across the board. More than that, with our converged, virtual infrastructure, we’ve created a foundation that will ensure we meet both of our primary IT mandates now and in the future.

To learn more about how Protection 1 works with EMC, check out these videos.

About the Author: Cameron Shove