I hear about customer challenges all the time. Backup and recovery have been around for decades and many old, very expensive products are still out there being used. Recently Unitrends had a customer purchase our Recovery Series appliance and DRaaS services to address just such a situation. The backup and recovery process was pretty messy for an agricultural commodity trading company and they didn’t want to move that that mess when relocating their data center to a new location. 

The challenge 

Moving the data center meant migrating an inefficient and manual-intensive Tivoli tape backup system. The only real options were for the company either to upgrade the whole tape-based solution or replace it entirely. Upgrading meant replacing 207 LTO-4 tapes with Fiber Channel LTO drives, a new library and a server with all the HBA trimmings. Not to mention, a replacement for the old IBM storage array and the expensive professional help to get it migrated.  The investment was estimated to be a whopping $70k.  Upgrading also implied the business would be bound to the tape cycle for another five-year period. The monthly fee to maintain the tape system was about $2000, which was constantly increasing. To put it simply, managing the tape was becoming far too big of a challenge. 

The $70K+ upgrade did not address their Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) capability. They had an ongoing battle with their DRaaS provider Sungard. Sungard was constantly increasing prices while delivering poor service. Making changes to Sungard was such a tedious process that the customer felt they were never really prepared for unpredictable situations. They learned it the hard way when recovery took a very long time on a stormy holiday morning.   

“We had to do all the work for Sungard; fill out an absolutely ridiculous spreadsheet known as the CDR. In the event of a disaster, it was a hassle to install a server/tape driver/tape library system that could read all the backup data.”  -Asst. General Manager 

This overwhelming cost to upgrade caused them to look to consolidate their data protection and business continuity coverage under a single, less expensive solution. Their partner introduced them to Unitrends and we were able to provide a superior solution at a much, much lower cost. Unitrends presented the solution and won the deal in just 3 weeks. The total value of the offer was about $100K in total. The customer had been paying $130K per year for their previous set of solutions, giving this offering a very quick payback and superior performance.

It all begins with a Unitrends appliance in the datacenter. 

Unitrends Recovery Series protects TBs of data and provides local backup and recovery options. Unitrends also provided 7TB of Forever Cloud capacity with 90 days of retention for off-site storage. This came with the Elite DRaaS services, which could spin up 15 virtual machines (VMs) in the Unitrends Cloud in the event the main data center goes down.  

Their DRaaS purchase also included free monthly recovery testing, which took the uncertainty out of recovery. Testing guarantees virtual machines recover as expected and are ready for rapid cloud spin-up in the event of a disaster.  Testing includes coordinating data sets, managing boot times, tracking actual time to recovery of the complete mission-critical application, and reporting proof of compliance to each specified RTO and RPO.   

Unitrends also provides performance Service Level Agreements (SLAs). It’s a contractual agreement that states that Unitrends will have critical VMs up and running within a specified period in the event of a disaster. Unitrends Cloud and DR experts take responsibility for the entire DRaaS process from installation in Unitrends purpose-built cloud to failover and recovery of service to failback to your operational data center.   Unitrends does the heavy lifting to ensure business continuity and more importantly, their peace of mind. 

The Results

It was refreshing for the customer to see Unitrends doing all the work for them. A responsive support team, both post-install and post-handoff, ensured uninterrupted operations.   

“We had an instance where the report showed a failed backup. The Unitrends support team quickly contacted us to let us know that our backup was fine, the report was wrong, they rectified the error then and there. -Asst. General Manager 

 After moving the data center, the customer saw improvement in the backup and recovery process, as much of it became automated. The customer was able to free up a lot of expensive space in their data center by getting rid of all their previous backup and recovery gear including:  

  • 4U Rack Mount for Spectrum (formerly Tivoli) reporting server 
  • Blade Center S (1 active blade) for TSM 6 server 
  • IBM DS3524 storage array for disk pools/dedup 
  • Dell TL4000 (rebadged IBM) tape library + 2 FC LTO-4 drives 
  • Landfill trash for tapes as they wear out 
  • Iron Mountain fossil fuels + emissions, 2-way trip, every business day

They were able to get a payback in less than one year. Their data center is now better prepared to handle recoveries in the event of a disaster and make the process so much easier. The fear of stormy holiday mornings is now gone.  

“It’s a great product and it killed several undesirable birds with one stone for us!” 

Want to see if Unitrends is the right for your business? Click here

 

 

Dick Csaplar
About Dick Csaplar

Dick Csaplar is a Senior Product Marketing Manager with Unitrends. Prior to working for Unitrends Dick was an Industry Analyst for Aberdeen, focused on all things Data Center. Dick has over 25 years of experience in IT with extensive work in Asia and Latin America having lived in, worked or traveled through over 70 countries in the world.