Logistics firm adds disaster recovery in the cloud

U.K. logistics firm Bibby Distribution signs a three-year contract with Getronics for disaster recovery management, adding an alternative route into cloud.

U.K. logistics firm Bibby Distribution has taken the advice of its new managed service provider and added an additional route into the provider's cloud infrastructure for disaster recovery.

Bibby's IT infrastructure is vital to ensuring that its fleet of trucks and around two million square feet of warehousing space are efficiently used. This prompted the company to sign a three-year contract to relocate its recovery data centre to services firm Getronics, which suggested the company map out a second route in its cloud in case the first fails.

Based in Runcorn, Cheshire, Getronics' National Data Centre (NDC) will provide a variety of services to Liverpool-based Bibby and its national network of branches. Disaster recovery services for the organisation will include processing the distribution schedules for a fleet that travels more than 30 million miles a year.

Robert Lee, IT director at Bibby Distribution, stressed that quality and consistency is imperative to running the business. "As a logistics company, we have customers such as supermarkets which want products on the shelves 24/7, so there is a demand for quality and consistency.

Bibby has software in place to automate shutting down servers in Liverpool. The data is replicated in real time between Liverpool and Runcorn using Hewlett-Packard software for SAN to SAN transfer."We have the option to start the backup servers in Runcorn either remotely or by physical presence," Lee said. "Getronics advised us to get another route into our cloud, so now we are in a circular position. Bibby, our communications provider and Runcorn are all linked, so we have more than one route into our cloud in case of a disaster. The alternative? Do nothing and accept the risk or use a different data comms provision. "

In the event of a disaster, Lee said nothing happens to the company's applications: "If the comms route via our Liverpool data centre is no longer viable, we can route the data comms into the wider comms cloud."

"If we managed our own disaster recovery, we would have to upload the tapes ourselves and maybe, after enough cans of Red Bull, our staff would be able to bring the data back to life ."


Robert Lee,
IT director,Bibby Distribution

He said the company has also joined the cloud at a different nodal point, which gives some protection should the cloud provider suffer a regional infrastructure issue.

"This means that all applications running on servers in either data centre have a very high chance of supporting our wider site base," he added.

Lee revealed that more of Bibby's customers are demanding a demonstration of the company's technical credentials, so the company needed to relocate its data to where it would be safe, secure and available.

"If we managed our own disaster recovery, we would have to upload the tapes ourselves and maybe, after enough cans of Red Bull, our staff would be able to bring the data back to life ."

Lee said Bibby previously had a colocated facility for disaster recovery, but as the organisation continued to grow the site ran out of available capacity. "The colocation strategy was a good step forward, but despite capacity issues there was also a problem with the site having very power-hungry rooms."

A deciding factor for Bibby was the managed service provider's location.

"It is close enough to be convenient, but far enough in case of the 747 scenario -- if a Boeing 747 lands on the Liverpool facility, we have everything backed up elsewhere. Most want to sweat their on-site facility for all they can, and then spread the risk by introducing a second site," Lee said.


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