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Case Study: On the ball

Rugby football club picks Asigra

Article comments

Asigra's online backup and recovery software is being deployed by Datastore365 for Northampton Saints RFC. Datastore365 carries out automated backups on a continual basis for Northampton Saints, to protect the Club’s sensitive and critical data, including video analysis (researching the opposition’s tactics and training the players), retail data from the two stadium shops, emails, all files including players’ contracts and medical records, and accounting data.

About the Saints

Northampton Saints is one of the most well known names in English club rugby. Founded in 1880 the club has been home to many world class players including England 2003 World Cup winners Ben Cohen, Steve Thompson, Matt Dawson and Paul Grayson. One of the most famous players in the world, Carlos Spencer, is a member of the current squad.

The Saints won the Heineken European Cup in 2000 and reached the semi-finals in 2007. In 2006/07 the club achieved a 95 percent plus stadium occupancy rate for home matches and made a profit of £283,000 from a turnover in excess of £11 million. In professional rugby Northampton Saints has consistently been one of only a few clubs to turn a profit.

Its Franklin’s Gardens facility is also the pre-eminent conference and banqueting venue in Northamptonshire. Redeveloped between 2000 and 2002, and then extended in 2005, the ground now boasts 48 hospitality boxes and several bars and restaurants.

Change of direction from tape

Having experienced a major data loss in 2006 that directly affected the Club’s business, the Saints needed to ensure that in the event of a systems failure this information would be protected and quickly restorable to allow for business continuity.

Brian Facer, head of Marketing at Northampton Saints, said: “Nobody ever believes a disaster will happen to them, but when it does it can cripple your business and you need to be ready. We experienced a major IT disaster first hand in 2005 and lost data critical to the running of the club, which spurred us on to move from corrupt and manual tape-based backup – which had proved to be unreliable, slow and open to human errors – to online backup with Datastore365 using Asigra’s software which is automated, reliable and we can restore our data within minutes if needed."

Datastore365 is backing up 120GB of stored data from three Windows 2003 servers, including an Active Directory server, a Microsoft Exchange SQL server and a general file server. The datacentre is based in Brackmills industrial estate in Northampton. For additional protection of the data, the data is mirrored to a second Datastore365 datacentre based in the old US Airforce base at Greenham Common, Berkshire, just in case the primary datacentre should fail. The data is generated from four different locations in and around the stadium, due to the diverse nature of the business, so it is advantageous that the backup is centralised.


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