Entering the headquarters of Design & Source Productions is a transformative experience. Stepping off the elevator on the third floor of a nondescript building in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, one suddenly experiences an environment full of vivid color and visual stimuli, but with an overriding aura of peace. Modernistic displays of the company’s glamorous product lines blend seamlessly with the old building’s exposed brick and loft-style architecture. One gets the feeling that the proprietors are not corporate types, and that they know something about design.
Of course, design is what the company is all about. The 16-person firm creates beautiful and environmentally sustainable product packaging, shopping bags, stationery, and accessories; it also advises companies on how to make their packaging more eco-friendly. Its customer list includes upscale department and specialty stores, hotels, cruise lines, gift shops, and cafés.
A business born of passion
The company’s roots can be traced to a career change decision that Laura Tufariello made in 1986. She was completing a stint as an airline flight attendant and was a school teacher for a number of years before that. “I decided to build a business on the passions of my life—design and travel. So I got into the business of importing stationery and gift bags,” she recalls.
Tufariello’s prior experience served her well in the new endeavor. She had visited many exotic places as a flight attendant, bringing back things of beauty from each location, and creative design was a lifelong hobby that she also practiced during her teaching career.
“I started the business out of my small apartment, and my first suppliers were in Taiwan,” Tufariello explains. “In 1996, I founded Design & Source Productions, and we have grown to occupy a 5,000-square foot headquarters space and four branch offices across Asia.”
Technology evolves with the business
The company’s first step into the world of technology was small by today’s standards. “The fax machine was introduced the year I began my first company,” Tufariello relates, “and I quickly discovered how useful that device was to an international business.”
“We got an Atari computer with a dot-matrix printer in the late 1980s,” Tufariello continues. “Later, we got a scanner and started scanning designs and photos. Email was a hard sell for me at first, but I became convinced that it’s an effective and efficient way to communicate.”
As the company’s technology footprint grew, its needs for IT services evolved. “At the beginning, we would use ‘friends of friends’ to help us with our technology needs. There was always someone willing to help, but most of them had their own way of doing things. So the next person would come in and do it differently, and there was no standardization.”
Finding the right IT partner
Tufariello decided to try another approach when the time came to deploy a new customer relationship management (CRM) package in 2000. “We chose GoldMine and engaged the reseller W Systems to set it all up for us. They did such a good job that we asked them for a recommendation for general IT services, and they recommended Baroan Technologies.”
Based in New Jersey and founded 13 years ago by Guy Baroan, Symantec Partner Baroan Technologies offers managed IT services customized to the unique needs of each customer. “We cater to small and midsize businesses that don’t have their own IT staffs,” explains Baroan. “We provide everything from software and hardware deployment to ongoing monitoring and help desk services.”
Standardizing data protection
Baroan conducted an assessment and began helping Design & Source streamline and upgrade its infrastructure. One of the early projects involved data protection. “Backups were being done manually and sporadically, which put a lot of critical data at risk,” Baroan recalls.
Baroan rolled out the latest version of Symantec Backup Exec at Design & Source in 2005, deployed concurrently with a Dell PowerVault network-attached storage (NAS) system. “The most important benefit was that the backups were happening and the data was being protected,” Baroan asserts. “But in addition to that, the process became simpler. We set up the daily incremental and weekly full backups, and all the local team had to do was change out the tapes.”
Going green through virtualization
Two years ago, with a network and server upgrade project on the drawing board, the Baroan team showed the company how they could significantly reduce their power consumption through virtualization. “This was attractive to us because of our environmental emphasis,” Tufariello says. “We were already purchasing 100 percent wind power for our headquarters, but virtualization helped us go one step further.”
About this time, Kathia Toraño came on board as Design & Source’s accountant—a role that also includes overseeing the IT infrastructure and managing the relationship with Baroan Technologies. “We took our five servers and converted them to VMware ESX servers on one piece of hardware,” she says, “and we can add more servers as needed without adding hardware.”
At Baroan’s recommendation, Design & Source deployed Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery to add another layer of data protection and provide for more robust disaster recovery for its virtual environment. “Although we haven’t had a large-scale disaster, Baroan showed us how important it is for us to be prepared,” Toraño says. “We’re going crazy here when the CRM is down for 15 minutes, so the fact that it could be days was a real concern.”
Backup Exec System Recovery takes snapshots every two hours of the company’s three most critical servers—the main administrative server, the server hosting the Microsoft SQL Server-based CRM system, and the image library—which together have close to a terabyte of data. In the event of a server failure, these snapshots can be used to quickly restore the servers—even to dissimilar hardware.
Looking to the future
“We are really excited about upgrading to Backup Exec 2010, particularly the deduplication option,” Toraño says. “Being a design firm, we are often sending and receiving emails with multiple image attachments, and copies are sent to several people in our company. Being able to identify and remove the duplicate data will be amazing, as it will save so much space.”
“We’re also planning to deploy Symantec Protection Suite Enterprise Edition at Design & Source this year,” Baroan adds. “With the amount of critical data and the global interactions they have every day, it makes complete sense to deploy a comprehensive security solution.”
Toraño couldn’t be happier with her relationship with Baroan Technologies and Symantec. “The Baroan team introduces us to the technology advances that we need to keep our business successful, and they’re always just a phone call away if something happens. And Symantec provides us with the peace of mind that our data is protected no matter what.”