Scotland’s COPFS upgrades legacy storage systems

10 October 2022

Serving a nation

Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is the nation’s prosecution service. It plays a crucial role in the justice system, working with the police and other departments to keep Scotland safe from crime, disorder, misconduct, and danger. The service investigates and prosecutes crime, establishes the cause of unexplained deaths, and investigates allegations of criminal police misconduct.

Since 2016, the COPFS has processed more than 900,000 cases. With terabytes of vital case data including documents, images, and CCTV footage, all of which must be processed, managed, stored, and accessed, the COPFS’ legacy disk storage had reached its limit.

“Our data consumption was growing rapidly, and a long-term solution had to be found to avoid an operational issue we couldn’t manage,” says Adam Biggs, head of IT services at COPFS. “We had to take decisive action.”

Moving beyond a legacy

One of the COPFS’ biggest challenges was that of legacy infrastructure, which by 2021, had reached its limit. Data requirements were spiralling, and services faced disruption or being shut down entirely. Moreover, the existing approach was compromising wider environmental initiatives.

Thus, the COPFS searched for a solution that would allow it to move to the future, beyond its power-intensive legacy storage, and which would also enable the consolidation of production workloads, virtual desktops, virtual servers, Oracle databases into a stable, scalable and agile infrastructure.
The service found that Pure Storage offered a route to expand, modernise, and futureproof the COPFS’ data infrastructure.

“Pure’s usability, interface, and support were such a breath of fresh air from our complex legacy infrastructure. It truly empowers us to monitor, upgrade, and manage our environment in the effortless way we wanted,” said Biggs.

The COPFS alleviated the immediate strain by moving its virtual servers and desktops to Pure FlashArray//X. Next, in phase two, all Oracle case management databases were also moved to Pure. The COPFS used its Evergreen//Forever subscription to upgrade to a higher model of FlashArray//X via a controller swap, without disruption and without rebuying storage. The COPFS saw a 15% improvement in core applications with Pure.

Moreover, Pure’s 3:1 data reduction guarantee helped the COPFS to downsize its data centre size by 18 square feet, significantly reducing its power consumption and environmental impact. Even when the COPFS expanded capacity by a factor of five, it remained within the Pure footprint.

The icing on the cake

According to Biggs, Evergreen has been the ‘icing on the cake’ for the COPFS.

“Evergreen gives us OPEX predictability and the agility to upgrade and scale seamlessly, without penalty or disruption - it’s incredible. We have the peace of mind that we’re always going to be up to date and our costs won’t spiral,” said Biggs.

Pure also adds value in broader areas of the COPFS’ business, such as cybersecurity, a growing challenge in many of today’s businesses.
“Like most organizations, cybersecurity is a huge priority for us,” said Biggs. “Pure’s SafeMode™ immutable snapshots give us valuable protection and supports our cyber readiness. In a worst-case scenario, we could restore everything in our virtual server environment in a couple of clicks.”

Today, some 98% of COPFS’ on-premise environments run on Pure.

“The biggest compliment I can pay is that the business hasn’t noticed a change. Everything works perfectly and does what it needs to do,” said Biggs. “However, the impact on my team is like night and day. I no longer worry about storage because there’s no reason to. Pure’s technology is flawless and the ongoing service, advice, and engagement creates a partnership that’s worth its weight in gold.”