voyager624 - Fotolia
The move has allowed it to protect all its servers and PCs – which total around 68TB in capacity – within an hour, where previously it only protected key servers and around 10% of PCs.
Key applications for its 400 users are Microsoft Office, plus in-house apps for orders, manufacturing and financials. Remarkably, all its servers are physical, with no virtualisation present.
Before moving to backup appliances, the company – which has five sites in Bacup in Lancashire – ran different backup applications for servers and PCs, and didn’t backup its entire estate, said IT technician Guneet Gill.
“We used Acronis for certain critical servers, five or six out of 12, particularly the in-house apps, with a daily full backup,” he said. “We used ShadowProtect for certain users, managers and directors’ PCs, about 10% of the total.”
“Why two products? Because our servers run on XP, and ShadowProtect doesn’t play nicely with them,” he added.
This was a legacy arrangement and to extend data protection to 100% of servers and PCs would have required additional deployment of servers, according to Gill.
“We’d reached the largest amount of servers we could back up with the existing products, and to scale up to cover all 160 PCs and all servers it would have needed a lot of money spent on licences and new hardware to run the backup products,” he said. “It wasn’t viable to protect all machines with what we had so we only did the critical ones.”
Read more about backup appliances
- Datacentre backup solutions are complicated; hence, the integrated data backup appliance. George Crump examines whether it is the right approach
- Product survey: We run the rule over backup appliances; hardware and software bundles that enable easy deployment and management of backup for SMEs and remote offices
Although the JJO IT team scoped out the possibility of upgrading the existing backup products, a decision was taken to move to a pair of Arcserve UDP backup appliances.
Each appliance has 30TB of capacity with flash drives for high-speed processing tasks. Incremental backups have replaced fulls – with all 68TB in the estate backed up within an hour – while replication takes place between the two sites at which they are deployed.
Backup appliances are an increasingly popular alternative to backup software products. They bundle a backup product pre-configured on to hardware with enough storage capacity for the backups, and often now can handle physical and virtual servers with the cloud and tape as target options.
They are well-suited to smaller businesses and remote offices as they simplified deployment and administration for small IT teams.
The key benefit of the Arcserve deployment at JJO is that all servers and PCs are now backed up and recovery is a matter of – at most – hours, said Gill.
“All machines are now backed up and we have peace of mind we can recover them in a couple of hours,” he said.
Elsewhere, JJO has decided to retain tape backup as a backstop. Gill said the company backs up its domain controllers and SQL and Unix databases to tape. These run overnight and are taken off site in the mornings.
But why still use tape?
“It’s a director preference for an extra layer of protection,” said Gill. “We’re keeping it for now so not phasing it out just yet.”
“We’re also not virtualised. Again, it’s a director preference. We don’t need it and are happy to buy physical servers. We have virtual machines on standby in Arcserve, but haven’t used them yet.”