Jun 10 2015
Data Center

4 Tips on Turning IT Challenges into Opportunities

Total SAN failure gave one financial institution a chance to rethink its infrastructure and create a stronger storage environment that would facilitate growth.

Financial institutions, which are expected to offer dependable, around-the-clock banking services, rely heavily on infrastructure. But even a back-end storage solution that worked perfectly at the start may not hold up down the line.

Felipe Garcia, senior network administrator at Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Fla., realized that in August 2013, when the credit union’s storage area network (SAN) sustained the unthinkable: a double-disk failure.

Installed in 2009 during across-the-board virtualization, the SAN was chosen for its relative ease of use and low price, which covered all needed add-ons.

But as time passed, Garcia’s team realized that inefficiencies in the SAN’s data replication functions were serious issues, and when the outage hit, IT had to endure lengthy restore times as staff moved applications to auxiliary backup systems.

After the setback, Garcia and his team could either find news ways to make the old SAN work or seek a different solution.

Achieva’s IT department decided to do the latter and, with CDW’s support, found an alternative SAN that could manage and store snapshots, reduce downtime and even handle the increased back-end storage requirements that would allow IT to implement more complex banking systems in the future.

Blogging for FinTalk, Garcia called the lessons learned from that experience “invaluable” and offered these tips for turning a major financial IT challenge on its head:

  • Seize the day. While it may be tempting to go for the “quick fix,”, take the time to evaluate all the solutions available to remedy the situation. Now’s the time to make upgrades or invest in new capabilities you may have otherwise put off.
  • Keep an open mind. Consider all your options to find the optimal replacement. And, use the opportunity to push for new funding or support for a completely new solution or service.
  • Do your homework. Research, research and after that, research some more! The value of due diligence to uncover solid evidence that supports your decision can’t be overstated.
  • Stay involved. Even though your vendor partner may take the reins when it comes to implementation, don’t shy away from learning everything you need to know about how the new software or hardware solution works. This is a chance to ask questions, watch and listen.

Garcia’s first piece of advice is particularly relevant to financial institutions doling out patch after patch, because if Achieva’s bounce-back proved anything, it’s that sometimes, a total overhaul is just what the doctor ordered.


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