Police Get Backup Help For Data

Overland system gives the Sacramento Police Department more storage capacity and better ways to protect it.

Crime scene investigation dramas are enjoying hugely successful ratings on prime-time television. But while leading-men-type field investigators get all the glory, the work being done behind the scenes is hardly so glamorous.

Real law enforcement agencies must uncover ways to enable IT departments to augment backup and recovery and ILM (information lifecycle management) operations that can easily store, access and safeguard vast amounts of data.

"I can find money for projects, but I just cant find people," said Lance Hawkes, senior systems engineer for the Sacramento Police Department, in Sacramento, Calif. "Capacity is my biggest concern—and affordability."

Constantly shrinking backup windows and mounting storage capacity strains associated with growing data volumes require an IT infrastructure on top of its game. For Hawkes, upgrading an aging seven-tape autoloader library and backup system was a perfect place to start saving productivity and tape management costs.

Hawkes said his agency has recently deployed Overland Storage Inc.s REO 4000 SATA (Serial ATA) disk-based backup and recovery appliance, along with the storage companys NEO 2000 tape library. The combined offering has reduced the police departments backup times by 70 percent. It also serves to protect critical departmental data, applications and customized tools for the California capitals 800 police officers.

Previously, the department relied on an outdated Exabyte Corp. Exabyte 7 tape changer to back up data weekly from approximately 20 Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. servers on a full set of seven tapes. A separate set of 12 ongoing backup tapes would then be stored separately. A full backup would take nearly 15 hours to complete, which often would encroach on production schedules or would time out unfinished.

"Twelve by seven means you have 84 tapes sitting around, and sometimes it gets kind of confusing. It was a real pain," said Hawkes. "That only held up to 140GB, but my data requirements were increasing. It was getting to the point that I was going to be running through two tape sets in a week, which means Im going to have to get another 84 tapes if I want to maintain the same retention policy in place—that was just really unmanageable."

Through the assistance of reseller WCT Peripherals Inc., based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the department decided to implement Overlands REO 4000 and NEO 2000 to form the heart of its new disk-to-disk-to-tape offering.

The REO 4000 offers high-capacity functionality with SATA disks, specialized software, Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity, and RAID 5 capabilities. Designed to shorten backup downtime, the NEO 2000 features modules supporting as many as 26 Super DLT (digital linear tape) or 30 LTO (linear tape open) cartridge slots and up to two tape drives providing as much as 15.6TB of capacity.

A major project gaining momentum at the department is the deployment of Digital CrimeScene, from DataWorks Plus, of Greenville, S.C. The police department and county sheriffs office are the first agencies in the region to automate forensic photography using Digital CrimeScene, a cutting-edge system that includes Web-based retrieval to access native digital formats and scanned film images.

The system will eventually be tied to all other entities involved in the prosecution process, including the Sacramento County Coroners Office, fingerprint examiners, the District Attorneys Office, sheriffs office and local police departments.


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