Occidental Technical Group, LLC provides technology consulting and support for about 175 small and medium-size businesses in California’s Napa Valley. The company needed to offer its clients a cost-efficient disaster recovery
method that would be quicker and more reliable than recovery from tape. When clients ask for suggestions about hardware issues, Occidental recommends Dell solutions 95 percent of the time. So when Occidental decided to provide a new disaster recovery service to their clients, Dell returned the favor by pointing them toward Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery
Occidental’s solution starts with an assessment of a client’s infrastructure. Consultants identify single points of failure in the network and suggest ways to make those points redundant, recommending standby hardware that should be readily available. “We install Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery on each of their physical servers,” says Occidental IT consultant Michael Rose. “And we typically spec two portable network-attached storage (NAS) drives that connect on to their network. Backup Exec System Recovery copies images of each server to one of those drives on a nightly basis, and that drive is swapped off site weekly with the other drive, so there’s always a copy of server images sitting off site.”
As part of its disaster recovery service, Occidental keeps several Dell servers on hand for clients to use as loaners as targets for their server images. “This is possible because Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery can recover a server to dissimilar hardware,” Rose says. “We can get the client applications back up and running, and the business can use our loaner server until the original gets repaired or replaced.”
Occidental hasn’t yet had a client that needed an entire site recovered, but they have run a successful proof of concept test with four servers. “Recovering the site would probably have taken three days if we were restoring from tape,” Rose estimates. “With Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, we had them up and running again in just six hours.”
The Symantec solution enables Occidental to perform server migration three to four times faster. Brian Tirado, Senior IT consultant at Occidental, says that now they can swap out server hardware during a client’s lunch hour. “With Backup Exec System Recovery we’re able to take a server image and restore it outside of the environment—even to dissimilar hardware such as a new Dell server. And then during lunch hour we just copy over data and the Microsoft Exchange databases, for example. The new server is up and running when employees come back from lunch, and they don’t know it’s been switched.”
Occidental offers the disaster recovery service at an affordable price for its client base. “Without Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, I don’t know if we really would have felt comfortable offering a service like this,” Rose says. “The alternate technologies that we evaluated are meant for enterprise-level organizations, and a service based on them would easily be five to ten times the price.”
Since Occidental began offering the disaster recovery service in 2007, they have recovered servers in scenarios seven times, along with many dry runs of vastly different infrastructures, all with 100 percent success. Occidental has virtualized 90 percent of its own servers on VMware ESX server software and uses Backup Exec System Recovery to move servers quickly back and forth between physical and virtual environments. The company expects that more than half of its clients will choose virtualization when they go to refresh their server technology, and they will choose Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery to migrate their servers.
The new offering by Occidental is already bringing in new business at Occidental. “Probably 70 to 80 percent of the customers who hear about our disaster recovery service using Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery choose it,” Tirado says. “And for all clients, we can get more work done in less time with faster server migration. The bottom line is providing clients with more uptime—and we can do that more easily with Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery.”
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