British Red Cross Society improves data mining speeds by 400% with DataCore SANsymphony-V from Adapto

When its data warehousing became slow and cumbersome, the British Red Cross Society (BRCS) chose IT consultancy Adapto to boost its data mining speeds by up to 400%.


The British Red Cross Society (BRCS), the UK arm of the International Red Cross, is a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. To do that effectively, the organisation uses a broad range of information technology solutions to support its fundraising, volunteering and commercial activities.

Reliant on charitable donations for funding, the BRCS must always look to invest in reliable, scalable, IT solutions that meet the needs of an international organisation, as well as offering the best value for money.


“In order to sustain the charity’s considerable ongoing work worldwide, the Red Cross needs to continually generate additional income from new and existing donors,” said Kevin Bush, Technical Architect within the charity’s MIS Enterprise Architecture Team. “It’s our function in MIS to ensure the relevant departments have the infrastructure available to allow them to complete automated storage processes that enable the charity to fulfil marketing campaigns and drive donations.”

At the BRCS, the data warehouse is used to store and analyse data from across the organisation. Customers, sales, products, procurement and transactional data is transferred from a variety of databases, cleaned and mirrored in the warehouse. To help increase fundraising efforts, the charity deployed a new suite of hardware and business intelligence tools, utilising OLAP, across the BRCS’s SQL Server database. However, in 2012 this meant that the data warehousing process was taking anything up to 20 hours, and not meeting the charity’s needs.


Adapto highlighted that deploying DataCore’s SANsymphony-V software could significantly decrease the I/O strain and dramatically increase performance in a very cost effective, non-invasive way.

Adapto’s technicians worked with the MIS Enterprise Architecture Team to deploy SANsymphony-V and its thin provisioning to the charity’s existing SQL Server database and hardware installation. DataCore’s key advantage is its flexibility. Independent of hardware suppliers, DataCore solutions can be installed and operated on any brand of server hardware, allowing clients the flexibility to pick and mix storage solutions to best meet their operational needs. This reduces the need for expensive single supplier agreements and renewals.


SANsymphony-V, otherwise known as the Storage Hypervisor, significantly improved performance levels by increasing the speed of read/write requests across the entire BRCS storage infrastructure, using the storage server memory as the caching engine. This caching accelerated application response times manifesting in a dramatic increase in speed of database query and extraction for the business units.

“From the point of evaluation onwards, we haven’t looked back with Adapto and SANsymphony-V. The software’s caching and performance acceleration has certainly addressed the consistency of extraction, whilst reducing the window to an acceptable level, so that as a charity, we can concentrate on effective fundraising to help those most in need,” explained Kevin. “Adapto’s understanding of the issues and technologies involved was second to none. With their support we have installed SANsymphony-V, trained our own staff to customise it and are reaping the benefits.”


Since the initial SANsymphony-V installation the BRCS has gone on to install further DataCore nodes and now has nine SATA Core servers mirroring data. Plans are also in place to install VMware high availability solutions from DataCore.

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