Caerphilly County Council: buying time to reorganise

It’s usually only when something becomes a problem that we notice it, and by that stage it’s often too late. That was Caerphilly Council’s experience when they realised they needed to reorganise their network.

Caerphilly County Council has around 4,000 desktop computers and a similar number of users. Around 12 or 13 years ago there had been a big reorganisation and lots of new capacity had been added to the network. What they hadn’t done was impose restrictions on users or give them dedicated areas for their documents. Fast forward to 2013 and the network was a mess. Users were generating and saving huge documents (files in excess of 800 MB were not uncommon) but it wasn’t clear what belonged to whom. The council had already added several rounds of new storage, but now that was starting to cause problems with retrieval and backup times. The whole thing was becoming unsustainable. Caerphilly knew that they had to reorganise again and place some restrictions on users. But that would be a big job, and in the meantime they desperately needed to reclaim space to prevent the problem getting any worse.

NXPowerLite for File Servers proved the ideal solution.

They ran the software on tranches of files over a period of time, dramatically shrinking many of the largest down to a manageable size. That had several benefits. Firstly, it freed up a lot of space – total storage was reduced by around a half, including those files that NXPowerLite can’t work with. Secondly, that cascaded down to backup, which is around 25 percent faster now. Thirdly, it made the job of reorganizing far easier. The root problem in the network was that it was impossible to tell who was responsible for filling up which drives. Fixing that issue involved tracking down files and copying them to the right place – and the larger the files, the longer they would take to copy. NXPowerLite made it a much easier and faster job.

Lastly, the software’s use will extend far beyond the current reorganization. Caerphilly is moving towards becoming a paperless office, and to achieve that they have started using a variety of means of digitizing documents to keep in their document management system. One program scans documents and turns them into TIFFs; another takes Office files and converts them to PDF for use on a separate system that tracks the progress of correspondence. Neither is particularly efficient. The current release of NXPowerLite takes care of the PDFs, reducing them by 40 to 60 percent. The next update of the software should address the uncompressed TIFFs – a new feature that Neuxpower are working on specifically in response to feedback from Caerphilly.