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Plastics maker dumps tape for Arcserve backup appliance and cloud

PW Hall faced backup windows of 13 hours but reduced this to about 90 minutes a day spread across a number of incrementals with jobs copied to cloud backup

Scotland-based plastics manufacturer PW Hall has ditched tape backup and deployed an Arcserve UDP backup appliance that also replicates to Arcserve’s cloud.

The move has seen backup times reduced from 13 hours to less than 90 minutes a day, spread across a number of smaller incrementals during working hours.

The company has about 50 employees and runs Microsoft Office, Exchange and Exel’s Efacs ERP software for production operations, all in a VMware environment.

It had previously run Arcserve r16.5 backup software on a Dell Poweredge server, with full backups of about 2TB being taken daily and sent straight to tape in a process that took about 13 hours.

If an outage did occur, a member of the team would have to travel six miles off-site to retrieve tape backups before the restore could begin.

The company could have taken incremental backups daily and cut down on the amount of data backed up in one go, but IT manager Robert Jackson said it took full backups every night to avoid the complexity of having to manually restore from a full plus incrementals.

But this was beginning to slow the system down, said Jackson.

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So, PW Hall deployed an Arcserve UDP backup appliance. This takes an initial full backup with incrementals taken subsequently three or four times a day, depending on the priority of the system. The appliance can restore to any requested point for which it has an incremental and currently retains around 850GB, which equates to about 3TB of undeduplicated data.

“There is no real impact on production operations,” said Jackson.

The company now has a recovery point objective (RPO) of three to four hours. With regard to recovery time, Jackson did a restore in late 2016 that took about three hours.

However, PW Hall did have to upgrade its WAN link to allow it to replicate backups to the cloud. “We didn’t have a high enough upload link and that did cause slight problems, so we upgraded to a 15Mbps SDSL connection,” said Jackson.

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