Disaster Recovery IT Solution for St Paul’s Cathedral – IT System Requirements
With the refurbishment of the Chapter House came a temporary
office move for staff, meaning a fail-safe IT solution, incorporating
disaster recovery, was required to serve not only the interim period, but also well into the future.
About St Paul’s
St Paul’s Cathedral is visionary in seeking to enable people in all their diversity to encounter the transforming presence of God in Jesus Christ.
St Paul’s aims to do this with confidence, compassion and creativity, promoting dignity and justice for everyone. They work with the Bishop and Diocese of London and the wider church, as a spiritual focus for London, the nation and the world.
Key Solution Highlights & Benefits
- Disaster recovery ensures downtime would be kept to an absolute minimum & no loss of data
- Innovative Green technology means that waste heat is recovered from the server room & re-utilised
- A secure on-site ‘mini cloud’ with replication to the secure CIS Cloud off-site provides added resilience
- Security built-in on both local & public networks, with network segregation
- More efficient provision of a wider range of IT services to the public & staff
- A cloud solution provides the ability to easily plan & budget for IT expenditure
The initial challenge was to relocate all staff from the St Paul’s Chapter House into a temporarily setup office whilst ensuring all of the IT provisioning of the existing office was carried over. This first stage of the project meant that St Paul’s needed an IT company with extensive experience in datacentre design.
Central to the IT solution was the need to incorporate a fully automated backup and disaster recovery system which could provide a full recovery of the entire server, applications and data files.
The IT systems would all need to be upgraded to the latest versions and had to include the ability to maintain security within a very public building, whilst simultaneously allowing the remote staff to work efficiently.
Once empty, the Chapter House would undergo a complete 2-year long renovation. During this time, St Paul’s required a datacentre to be constructed beneath the main facility to accommodate all of their systems, for both now and completely future proofed.
All of the work had to be performed without any disturbance to the usual smooth running of the Cathedral and all of its functions.
CIS designed a system in the new buildings using the latest in Sophos firewall solutions and wireless access systems. The network was segregated into ‘old’ and ‘new’ followed by a full physical migration of all staff from the main Chapter House to rented office space and wirelessly connected back to the main building.
The design and specification moved onto the subterranean server room and construction of a virtualisation platform. CIS then employed a small internal ‘Cloud’ platform to house all of the older data servers, whilst allowing space for their upgrade alongside the existing working platform. Cathedral staff were then able to switch over to terminal services with all of the benefits that it brings to their efficiency, flexible working and data security.
We are delighted to be working with CIS, the project is already looking well organised and innovative. CIS delivers a prompt professional service with trusted knowledge we can rely on at all times.
John Story, Head of IT, St Paul’s Cathedral
The final key part of the solution was the implementation of a full backup and disaster recovery package, which backs up full images of all servers and data to the CIS cloud. In the event of failures at the main site, the backup images can be called upon to restore services and data with the minimum of fuss.
The solution was installed with the most environmentally friendly products and the greenest of technologies. These include heat recovery systems which take warm exhausted server air and store it for subsequent use in heating the Cathedral.