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SME backup: Card maker ditches tape-only for Nakivo 3-2-1 setup

IG Design Group gains a modern backup regime with data held on disk, in the cloud and long-term on tape in a move that has helped it to slash backup and restore times

Greetings card and gift products maker IG Design Group has ditched tape as primary backup and moved to Nakivo, slashing backup window and restore times.

The company is part of a multinational organisation with offices in the US, Australia, the Netherlands and China, but this deployment was carried out only in the UK, where IG Design Group has two main sites, in south Wales and Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire.

Core applications are two enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, plus manufacturing support, financial and productivity suites. Its two design departments have about 50 designers using Adobe products.

The big problem with its previous tape regime was long backup windows and difficulties in restoring, particularly to virtual environments, said Mike Harris, group IT manager at IG Design Group.

“It took two weeks to do a full backup at our main site,” he said. “Incrementals took several hours.

“And often we want to revisit old versions, so it was a case of finding the right place on the right tape and then often discovering that the person had asked for the wrong version. Also, we had moved to a virtualised environment and you can’t easily recover from tape.”

IG Design decided to move to a 3-2-1 backup regime, with one copy online, one in the cloud and one offline, so tape would still be used for long-term backup copies.

But disk-based backup with a new backup software product was required. Harris’s team looked at Veeam and at first was attracted to it.

“We tried Veeam and we liked it,” he said. “It was also relatively cheap when we first looked at it, but we got sticker shock when we went back 18 months later.

“But we also liked Nakivo more, and had ‘reverse sticker shock’ when we saw what it would cost.”

Initially, Nakivo Backup & Replication (Pro edition) was deployed to one machine, then three, then rolled out to all five servers at IG’s south Wales site.

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Now the company backs up 200TB in total, with about 80TB backed up in various ongoing jobs. ERP system data, for example, is backed up daily and kept for eight weeks, with monthlies kept for three years. Meanwhile, the entire file system is retained as an annual snapshot at year-end. Between those two extremes, different datasets are protected on daily, weekly and monthly cycles.

The key benefits for IG Design are not particularly felt in budget terms; it’s mostly about what moving to a modern backup setup provides.

“We can only say we’ve saved money compared to what we would have had to buy,” said Harris. “We would have needed five, six or seven times more storage, keeping daily backups for weeks, where Nakivo has its changed block tracking. It takes a little longer, but it frees up storage.”

Key benefits cited by Harris are in what his team can do that it couldn’t before. “We can take a snapshot of a machine to work on,” he said. “That didn’t exist in the tape days. If we want to make changes, we can roll back if needed. We couldn’t do that before.”

What would Harris like to see in future versions of Nakivo? “I’d like to see Nakivo build on the DR [disaster recovery] provision,” he said. “It already has site recovery, but that’s in the enterprise version. I’d like it in the lower-tier products. The ability to be able to restore to, and run from, a cloud environment would be good too.”

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