Zodo’s — Bowling & Beyond deployed Snap Server 620
Zodo gains scalable, data archive to support growing video surveillance system with Overland's products
Zodo's-Bowling & Beyond is one of the busiest bowling centres on the West Coast, boasting 24 lanes, an arcade, pro shop as well as a full-service, highly popular restaurant and bar.

After the Goleta, California-based facility was purchased by Kinko's Inc. founder, chairman and avid bowler Paul Orfalea along with other Kinko's executives, the business was transformed into a 25,000-square foot entertainment centre that appeals to all ages.

The multi-million dollar business continues to thrive despite a decline in the bowling industry thanks to its plethora of special programs, such as "Bowl your Brains Out, Win a Vespa," "Lunch ‘n Bowl," and "Glow Bowling," where black lights shed a whole different light on a typical game. On weekends, Zodo's hosts the area's largest laser light show and a live disc jockey to liven up the perennial party atmosphere.

According to Cindy Lawrenz, vice president of operations for Zodo's, the company embraces leading-edge technology to run all aspects of the business. "We are very savvy when it comes to technology," she explains. "It starts with our deployment of automated scoring systems, synthetic lanes and AMF pinsetters and extends to sophisticated point-of-sale systems, widespread WiFi access and state-of-the-art intelligent lighting systems." During recent remodels, Zodo's has installed CAT-5 cabling through the facility along with a 48-camera, high-resolution video surveillance system for monitoring activity and supporting insurance liability requirements.

The challenge

In 2003, Zodo's extended its technology foundation to accommodate a mix of five Microsoft and Linux file servers connected via a facility-wide network. The company also re-evaluated its storage foundation, especially since computers are used to broadcast music and data-intensive digital videos throughout the building as well as administer elaborate lighting displays. "We realised early on that we would need a solid storage framework to handle both our frontand back-office demands in addition to our burgeoning video surveillance storage needs," adds Lawrenz.

To that end, the Zodo's team turned to a former technology expert from Kinko's to optimize its storage solution. "Overland's Snap Server network attached storage (NAS) systems were recommended based on positive experiences in Kinko's environment," recalls Lawrenz. "In particular, Snap Servers worked well since they enabled the direct attachment of a tape drive for reliable near-line storage of data before seamlessly archiving off to tape."

"The combination of Snap Server 620 and GOS 5.0 gives Zodo's a future-proof NAS foundation," concludes Lawrenz

Initially, Zodo's installed a Snap Server 520 with one terabyte of storage, which met the early needs for highly reliable NAS storage with a variety of enterprise-class features. Among the pluses of this first system were remote management of BakBone's NetVault: Backup data protection, which was embedded on the Snap Server platform, as well as the ability to write command-line scripts and automate different operations for reduced administrative overhead. The first Snap Server also kept pace with Zodo's rapidly rising video surveillance solution.

As Zodo's grew and expanded, however, more video surveillance cameras were added while upgrades were made to many of its original cameras. Moving to higher-resolution cameras, along with the need to archive video on disk for up to 10 days, strained the capacity on the company's Snap Server 520. "Our daily storage doubled, which meant we had to dump off video to tape daily just to keep up," notes Lawrenz. "Finding the exact video we needed from tape became more of a burden as we amassed a rather large collection of video archives. A step up to more capacity was definitely warranted."

The solution

When it came time to increase capacity, Zodo's once again turned to Overland's Snap Server to supply the additional storage while also leveraging a host of new features and advanced functionality. The new Snap Server 620 boasts 63 percent higher performance than the 520, thanks to a new dual-core AMD Opteron processor. Additionally, the new NAS platform can be configured with four enterprise-class SATA II drives for an initial capacity of one, two, three or four terabytes as well as optional scalability to 88 TBs to suite a variety of storage demands and budgets.

In seeking a more scalable NAS solution, Zodo's sought the advice of its long-time technology consultant, Rick Heise, who was impressed with the enhancements now included in Snap Server's embedded GuardianOS (GOS) 5.0. For instance, he felt that expanded GOS functionality was ideally suited for Zodo's environment, including best-in-class Microsoft access control lists (ACLs) support, remote backup job monitoring and NTP Server support for time-stamp synchronisation across all computers and video cameras. "Security has always been a big concern, especially since we have PCI Compliance data among other highly sensitive files on our systems," he says. "We wanted the ability to lock-down certain data and keep mission-critical and sensitive information secure from unwanted access."

The new Snap Server 620 boasts 63 percent higher performance than the 520, thanks to a new dual-core AMD Opteron processor

Additionally, GOS 5.0 features a Linux 2.6 kernel for improved stability, robustness and performance while the availability of RAID 6 and 10 support delivers an extra measure of data protection. Overland also has broadened its NAS replication functionality with the latest release of Snap Enterprise Data Replicator (EDR) 7.2, which can be embedded in GOS optionally to bolster the ability to distribute, synchronize and protect data residing in remote offices. Finally, integration with BakBone's NetVault: Backup 8.1 extends open systems data protection.

"We really liked that Overland provided a total, turnkey solution with the Snap Server 620," adds Heise. "All the new bells and whistles offered a lot of potential for taking our data protection to the next level."

The benefits

In September 2008, Zodo's upgraded to Overland's Snap Server 620 with two terabytes and GOS 5.0, doubling its storage capacity while taking advantage of new GOS functionality. In particular, the company leverages dynamic home directories to give each network user private space and settings as well as the ability to preserve Windows ACLs on all files and folders. "Now, our executives and the managers for the restaurant, bar, security, finance and other facets of the operation can have secure information areas for their sensitive files without any concerns," explains Heise. "This is a huge benefit as we can store and backup all our data on the Snap Server, including vital POS systems containing critical PCI compliance data."

Zodo's also noticed an immediate performance boost on the new Snap Server platform. "We instantly saw the performance improvement," Heise adds. "Moving files around and performing backups is much faster on the Snap Server 620. Equally important is the use of enterprise-class SATA II drives, which gives us greater reliability and tolerance for errors."

Overland has further streamlined ease of use with broader support for command-line scripting, which gives Zodo's additional flexibility in moving, managing and protecting data. The significant capacity increase also gives the company an opportunity to store up to 10 days of video on disk for easier, more efficient retrieval. "Previously, we had to dump video off to tape daily as we simply ran out of room," recalls Lawrenz. "Now, we can store more than a week's worth of video on disk and find what we're looking for quickly. Before, it took up to 10 times longer to locate, upload, restore and review videos from backup tapes."

Zodo's also leverages tight integration with BakBone's NetVault: Backup for simplified backup and recovery while planning to evaluate EDR to protect files stored at a remote site as part of an overarching business continuity strategy. "The combination of Snap Server 620 and GOS 5.0 gives Zodo's a future-proof NAS foundation," concludes Lawrenz. "This product scales easily while enabling us to integrate advanced functionality, like replication, to address evolving disaster recovery needs."

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