Covering nearly 700,000 square kilometers, Menorca is the second largest Balearic Island and a popular Mediterranean tourist destination. The island is home to 100,000 residents—a number that doubles in the summertime as people come to enjoy the sea, sand, and historic sites. 

To provide public services for these residents and visitors, the Island Council of Menorca relies on Serveis d’informatica Local de Menorca (SILME), an organization created in 1989 to provide IT services for the self-governing island and its eight municipalities. 

SILME is currently immersed in a sweeping digital initiative called Menorca Smart Islanda public-private partnership to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data to the island. The plan is to collect all kinds of data by installing thousands of sensors across the territory and connecting them through a fiber-optic network. The organization will use the data to protect the island’s historical, cultural, and environmental heritage. Menorca is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and potential World Heritage site renowned for its prehistoric monuments and the “Tayalotic Culture of Menorca.” In addition, it’s the only island to join the Spanish Urban Agenda, which aims to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 11 laid out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda.

“The Smart Island project will create a digital framework for the sustainability initiatives to which we’ve been committed for decades,” explains Cristina Gómez, executive counselor for employment, housing, and local cooperation of the Island Council of Menorca and president of the SILME Board of Directors explains. “It will allow us to better manage our resources and collect as much information as possible to make intelligent decisions—everything from real-time beach occupancy numbers and the number of visitors to Talayotic monuments to street lighting and water consumption.”

A Decision Accelerated by the Pandemic

To bring the Smart Island vision to reality, SILME must renew Menorca’s digital infrastructure. Capturing, managing, and moving large volumes of real-time IoT data requires exceptional storage capacity, flexibility, and speed. But the need for powerful storage goes beyond the Smart Island project. 

“Initially, we needed to update the storage environment to enable more digital work, and the need became even greater when [2020]the COVID-19 pandemic forced public administrators and educators to work remotely,” says Paco Franco, SILME manager. “Our existing storage was not prepared to withstand the enormous workload. To handle those demands and take on new challenges such as Smart Island, we needed a solution that looked to the future.”

The two existing storage arrays filled 30 racks each, using nearly all the available space in the data center. Thus, one essential requirement SILME had as it started the search for a storage provider was the ability to virtualize its storage without having to acquire, install, and maintain new hardware. SILME technicians studied offers from various suppliers in the sector, with different price levels and functionalities.

We are now discovering all the possibilities that a next-generation storage system provides. For us, the scalability offered by Pure Storage is practically infinite, more than covering all our current and future storage needs. Paco Franco, SILME manager

In the end, SILME chose the Pure Storage® solution for its balance of cost and functionality.

“When we analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of each solution, we realized that in the long run, the investment was going to be similar in all of thembut none of the others offered us the advantages that Pure Storage provides in one single solution,” explains Franco.

Scalability, Redundancy, and New Services

SILME implemented two FlashArray//X storage arrays, with ActiveCluster replication, Cisco MDS switches, and the Pure1® intelligent storage management application. One of the arrays is installed at the SILME headquarters and the other in the data center of the Island Council of Menorca, creating redundancy for high availability. 

“Among our various databases, one of the most important is the database that supports the accounting system for all the municipalities of Menorca,” says Franco. “We were always afraid that a problem would occur on the server where this database is installed. With the migration to virtualized storage and having the storage platform replicated, we are much more confident our data is protected.”

Implementation was quick and easy, supported by a Pure technical support team. Today, SILME staff members use Pure1 VM Analytics for complete visibility into the storage environment, so they can detect and respond to incidents quickly. And with a subscription to Pure Evergreen Storage, the SILME team feels confident in its ability to stay up and running.

“The other day, Pure Storage technical service called to tell us that they detected a component in the array that was not working well,” says Franco. “We hadn’t even realized it, and they had already sent us the spare part. Being on an island, this high quality of technical support is a tremendous help to us.”

With the migration to Pure, in addition to improving the capacity, reliability, and performance of its storage platform, SILME has also been able to implement new services that were not possible with the previous infrastructure. 

“We now have a Zimbra email server for 2,000 email accounts, plus cloud storage space for users,” says Franco. “The cost of storage would have been prohibitive in the past, but with Pure, we virtualized the mail servers so we always have the capacity required by the new email platform.”

Storage for a Smarter Future

Looking ahead, SILME has the storage platform it needs to pursue the Smart Island project and all the cultural and environmental initiatives associated with it. 

“We are now discovering all the possibilities that a next-generation storage system provides,” says Franco. “For us, the scalability offered by Pure Storage is practically infinite, more than covering all our current and future storage needs.”

The infrastructure will allow SILME, the Island Council of Menorca, and thousands of users to enjoy a Modern Data Experience backed by Pure Storage—reducing complexity and management expenses while making the most of the IoT data to support sustainability and cultural preservation.

“Smart Island is a strategic project for Menorca. What is special about our island is the territory and the social cohesion that we have managed to preserve despite the temptations of mass tourism,” says Gómez. “Now we can go one step further and start managing our natural, cultural, and social wealth more intelligently by collecting and processing all kinds of data. Even dreams, like being a Smart Island, need to start from information extracted from the real world.”

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