Distell, a producer, marketer and distributor of fine wines, spirits and ready to drinks (RTD's), has implemented a comprehensive network attached disk based backup solution at its head office and 20 of the regional branches.
The approximately R2,2-illionm solution, designed, piloted and installed by Faritec with the backing of distributor Drive Control Corporation, has improved the accuracy, speed and reliability of the company's backup system, minimising the need for human intervention and enhancing governance.
"Distell faced a challenge similar to many fast growing organisations," notes Dineo Mosupye, Overland Storage product specialist at distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC). "Their previous investments in backup solutions, such as tape drives and autoloaders, had become outdated, and the disadvantages common to these systems – such as the need for manual intervention and slow backup times – was impacting on the company's ability to reliably backup and recover critical information."
Typical issues in these scenarios are that backups are not done on a regular basis, manual tape cartridges are not changed timeously, and backups and data recovery are too slow, with faulty or lost, misplaced or damaged cartridges contributing to the problem.
"Distell required a solution that would minimise human intervention (and error) in the daily backup procedure and cut down on the time to restore data files when required," explains Pieter Bekker of Faritec. "We thus proposed a branch backup solution based on Overland iSCSI REO disk based devices and Symantec's Veritas Backup Exec and Replication Exec."
The solution was designed to enable local backup of data at each branch to Disk over the LAN; and remote backup of data from each branch to Head Office over the WAN. Browser based, the solution facilitates remote management of backups countrywide with feedback of successful overnight backups and fault reports.
The REO devices were chosen for their iSCSI and tape emulation features, as well as their very good price/performance. The fact that all of Distell's branch offices already had the Backup Exec software installed meant that only an upgrade to the newer version 10d would be required to ensure continuous backup capabilities, and that the solution would be relatively easy to install, implement and manage.
A proof of concept was run to prove the proposal sound, with DCC providing all devices on loan for an extended period at no cost. "DCC also assisted us to secure the contract by registering this opportunity with Overland, thus eliminating the possibility of the same volume price being passed on to competitors," adds Bekker.
The solution was developed in house & skills transfer was part of the project. Implementation was done in two phases, with phase one incorporating installation at two primary sites in the Western Cape at the end of 2005.
Phase two included installation and testing at all regional branches.
A 20U Cabinet was installed at each site in a secure location, connected to the Local Area Network by either fibre optic cable or UTP CAT 5 capable of 100Base-T or 100Base-F. Inside each cabinet a REO1000 or REO4000 was installed. Each REO is configured as multiple virtual LTO-2 tape drives, allowing for the backup program required for each location, whether daily, weekly or monthly. In addition to this, each branch is also scheduled to backup daily over the WAN via Symantec's Replicator Exec incrementals.
Replicator Exec provides continuous protection for business data residing at remote offices. It copies data from a remote server in real-time or on a scheduled basis, to a central server. Once the data arrives, via an IP connection, the remote data can then be backed up and stored as if it resided at the main office. This is especially relevant where bandwidth is limited for backup purposes, as is the case at some remote Distell branches.
"Distell's disaster recovery policy was bolstered by the implementation of a data lifecycle management strategy," adds Bekker. "Data is now migrated from disk to tape in an automated manner, ensuring it is available for quick retrieval and archived to meet disaster recovery and long-term governance requirements."