Migrating from one backup solution to another is a challenging feat that requires intelligent business process mapping. This is why motoring services specialist the AA put its backup solution transition in the hands of Westcon reseller AVeS.

The business challenge
As a result of its renewal of its Microsoft Licensing Agreement, the AA was able to make use of technologies like System Centre 2012, available through the software giant. Until this point, the AA had been using Symantec Backup Exec 2010 R3 as its preferred backup solution, but was experiencing challenges such as the backups overlapping with production hours and costly licensing.

AVeS was called into action to replace the existing backup solution in an effort to reduce cost and avoid backups running into production hours, which resulted in impacting productivity.

In order for AVeS to do this, a comprehensive understanding of the AA’s existing backup solution was required. This was attained through various assessments, as well as technical workshops that included gathering a view of the company’s existing backup devices and business processes.

From these workshops, a scalable and flexible backup strategy was designed to cater for local and off-site storage of the AA’s backups by making use of the Microsoft System Center 2012’s Data Protection Manager.

A systematic approach
In order to implement the product, the technical teams decided on a side-by-side implementation strategy. Here Microsoft System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM) with Service Pack 1 was implemented in parallel to the existing Symantec system.

This strategy eliminated the risk of business systems running unprotected while the environment was transitioned from one software solution to another. A full backup of the environment was made with Symantec Backup Exec prior to DPM going live. Once the full backup was successfully completed, the physical backup server was then converted to a virtual machine in order to retain legacy backed up data as a point of reference in the event that data from the older solution had not been restored.

DPM was then introduced and configured to backup business critical services, including, but not limited to: Active Directory, Exchange, its virtual machines, SQL database, and Line-of-Business applications.

Coupled with continuous data protection schedules, the AA experienced an immediate benefit of the DPM solution in the compression ratios achieved on disk and in tape-based backups. In addition to this, backup time frames were radically reduced. For the first time, backups of the entire environment were successfully completed in non-production hours.

The business benefit
“The fact that the project allowed for the backups to be completed out of production hours proved to be a great win for the AA,” explains Kevin George, Microsoft business lead at Westcon Software Solutions.

“The success of this project further highlights how when a company takes full advantage of Microsoft Licensing, they can unlock the potential of new products and solutions that will allow them, like the AA, to save costs and improve efficiencies.”