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Case Study: Backing up a property developer

Stanhope abandons tape backup

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Stanhope creates and delivers major commercial and mixed-use developments in London and the South-East. Stanhope’s staff work at a wide variety of sites and use laptops to access the company system remotely. Important data is generated from these laptops while they are on the move, which also needs to be protected and included in the corporate backups.

It had what became an unreliable, slow and labour-intensive tape-based backup system. This became too disadvantageous to continue using and so Stanhope turned a backup service from hSo:VAULT. It dispensed with its now outmoded tape backups in favour of an automated online backup service from a managed service provider.

Founded in 2000, London city-based hSo provides a range of voice, data and security products and services for businesses. The company's client list includes British Land, Churston Heard, Endemol, The English National Opera and The Salvation Army. It was named by the Sunday Times as one of Britain’s fastest growing private tech companies in its ‘Tech-Track 100’ companies for 2006.

Stanhope’s data is now backed up automatically using hSo:VAULT, a managed service built upon Asigra’s Televaulting software. The daily backups are automated and include file, database and email, amounting to around 400GB of compressed data. If data is lost, it can be retrieved at a moment’s notice and from any location.

At Stanhope’s office in London, a single Asigra Televaulting DS-Client discovers all servers, desktops and laptops connected to the local network and automates the backup of all local data assets.

Agents are not installed on the machines being backed up. Before data is sent to hSo’s datacentre, Asigra Televaulting software analyses it, finds new and changed files, eliminates duplicate files and further compresses the data to ensure it is as compact as possible. The software then encrypts the data before sending it over an IP-WAN connection to a centralised Asigra Televaulting DS-System server, located in hSo’s datacentre. Data remains encrypted and is stored in the vault. The DS-System server is then protected just like any other server within the datacentre as part of the organisation’s ongoing data protection policies.

As an additional level of data protection, hSo has configured the DS-System server to replicate the vault to a second secure back up site.

Paul Hargreaves, project director at Stanhope, said: “We are an information-reliant business, with large graphics files that are vital for our building projects. Should we lose any data, we ... can quickly recover the data in minutes rather than days, avoiding interruption to projects. Moving from tape to online backup and recovery means that the service runs itself; we no longer have to remember to back up our data every night.”

Stanhope has already benefited from the switch; it has experienced data losses and corrupted data since the implementation, and has been able to recover the data within minutes. In the past, a single data recovery from tape could take days as tapes had to be found and sent back to the office. This naturally disrupted the business.

Hargreaves added: “We now have peace of mind that should there be a major incident, such as a flood or server breakdown, we can quickly and easily restore our network and continue to concentrate on our core business, which increases our uptime and productivity levels.”

With Assigra's televaulting only one piece of software is required per location and not agent software on each target machine. Data generated from users' laptops also needs to be protected and included in the corporate backups.

Eran Farajun, Asigra's EVP, said: “The centralised structure of our software means that data generated from any location - whether it is desktop users within the office, remote workers, or laptop users - is included in the daily backups and stored in the hSo datacentre. With increasing incidences of laptop theft and loss, this capability is needed more than ever before.”

Data is also encrypted in-flight over the WAN and at-rest by the Asigra software.

Systems failure and the threat of downtime are greatly reduced for Stanhope in comparison to the alternative 'onsite' storage of data via tape download.

Chris Evans, hSo's MD, said: “Asigra’s technology has an agentless architecture, which enabled us to integrate hSo:VAULT into Stanhope’s existing system with minimal fuss, as well as minimising management costs. Stanhope outsources both their backup and Internet hosting to us, significantly increasing the time-efficiency and reliability of its IT network in comparison with the previous tape-based backup solution.”

Asigra Televaulting for Service Providers supports a range of platforms, including Windows, Linux, Unix, Novell, AS/400 and Macintosh, and protects Oracle, SQL Server, VMware and Exchange Server data. Back-end DS-System software runs on Solaris, Linux and Windows.


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