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Case Study: Scottish Fire and Rescue

Case Study





  • Consolidation of eight legacy fire services into a single organization
  • Scottish Government mandated requirement to reduce costs and duplication of services
  • Escalating email volumes made retrieval time consuming and expensive, adding operational risk
  • Risk of data loss without a well-defined business continuity strategy


Commvault Software

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  • Consolidation of multiple backup solutions onto a single platform to support newly amalgamated fire and rescue services
  • Cost cuts through reduced maintenance charges and minimising administrative requirements
  • Archiving supports diverse compliance storage demands and delivers end- user rapid access to critical email
  • Fail-safe business continuity mechanism in place in the event of a disaster

As a front-line emergency-response service for all of Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) relies on robust technology to operate around the clock, attending to tens of thousands of fire, rescue and traffic incidents every year. Created in April 2013, the organisation unites more than 9,000 firefighters and support staff from eight legacy fire services in more than 400 locations across Scotland. Using state-of-the art rescue equipment, SFRS is involved in emergency support incidents that range from rescuing people trapped under collapsed structures or from cliffs and high buildings, extricating victims in motor vehicle crashes, and fighting fires to mitigate loss of property and lives.

With a mandate from the Scottish Government to reduce costs and duplication of services, one of the first challenges facing SFRS was the need to replace eight disparate backup solutions within its IT infrastructure with a single platform for data management. The priority was developing a data backup and archive strategy that could meet compliance and continuity requirements across a range of critical applications, including Microsoft Exchange 2010, SharePoint, SQL Server, Office and Oracle.

After a thorough assessment of its existing environment, SFRS decided to consolidate using Commvault Simpana software to leverage a common infrastructure and to tackle compliance requirements in addition to data protection requirements for backup and email archive. “The largest of the legacy fire services, Strathclyde, had been using Commvault Simpana software successfully for five years. Other services were using Symantec BackupExec and manual copy processes,” explained Greg Aitken, information and communications technologies (ICT) operations manager, SRFS. “Having considered the options, it was clear that Commvault Simpana software’s functionality and simplicity of use offered the optimal solution for SFRS.”


A critical component of the consolidated SFRS single software solution project was the creation of an enterprise email archive. The majority of legacy fire and rescue services had previously opted to simply increase mailbox size or store PSTs on local machines, network drives, even external USB drives to handle increasing email volumes. As Aitken explained, “Email is a business critical system and an organisation of our size should have a proper, fit-for-purpose email archiving solution.”