How a business continuity solution is helping to save lives in Scotland

by Duncan MacRae| 27 March 2014

The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service has also implemented a new information compliance solution.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), the frontline emergency response service for all of Scotland, has deployed CommVault Simpana 10 software to standardise its data management infrastructure across more than 400 locations.

This decision followed a mandate from the Scottish Government to reduce costs and duplication of existing services, and following a thorough assessment of its existing environment, SFRS decided to replace eight disparate backup solutions with CommVault's single data management platform.

With a priority to develop a data backup and archive strategy that can meet compliance and continuity requirements across a range of mission critical applications, including Microsoft Exchange 2010, SharePoint, SQL Server, Office and Oracle, CommVault is helping SFRS to increase overall operational efficiency while providing nearly instant recovery of emails - a system benefit that SFRS could not previously guarantee.

According to Greg Aitken, ICT operations manager for SFRS: "The adoption of CommVault Simpana software as a single platform for data backup, archive and search across the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service ensures that legislation and compliance requirements are adhered to and significantly reduces risk by providing business continuity in the event of a disaster."

"Email is increasingly recognised as a critical application in today's fast-moving business environments, yet it seems that companies are still falling behind when it comes to managing it effectively," said Philip van der Wilt, vice president of EMEA, CommVault. "With an intelligent data management solution now in place, the organisation is able to locate and retrieve emails practically on demand, which is invaluable. We are delighted to have worked so closely with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to create and deploy such a robust system and encourage them to really test it to its limits - we know Simpana can more than handle it."


Created in April 2013, SFRS united more than 9,000 firefighters and support staff from eight legacy fire services in more than 400 locations across Scotland. The organisation relies heavily on robust technologies in order to operate effectively around the clock.

The creation of an enterprise email archive was a critical component of SFRS' consolidated single software solution. SFRS is using Simpana 10 to provide backup and disaster recovery for Active Directory for Exchange mailboxes. SFRS can customise archive rules to reflect the business specific needs of users and to automate data retention to comply with Freedom of Information requests.

Simpana 10 has also transformed the email discovery and retrieval process. Previously, the process to locate specific emails and then restore them had been a resource intensive process; SRFS can now locate and retrieve such emails within seconds. In addition, SFRS has worked to reduce the risk associated with eDiscovery and at the same time created a far more scalable storage model.


SFRS chose CommVault over other software solutions it evaluated for two main reasons - its advanced information management features and CommVault's capacity based licensing agreement. Simpana OnePass provides SFRS with a converged process for backup, archive and reporting through a single data collection, allowing the organisation to solve massive file and email growth problems. Automated policies then manage this data in the Simpana ContentStore -- an efficient, virtual repository that handles the retention and storage of content based on its value to the business.

These provided SFRS with far more flexibility to meet the evolving demands of its new organisation, a critical consideration given the challenge of consolidating multiple operations into one. Because SFRS moves large amounts of duplicate data that it needs to maintain access to for up to 21 years, the archive and search functionality inherent in Simpana 10 is extremely valuable in terms of storage cost savings. The migration from multiple backup solutions to Simpana 10 delivered an immediate return on investment, as maintenance costs are now significantly lower.

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