It was very simple to implement and use.
August 04, 2011
Skender Construction is a premier construction firm of about 65 employees providing sophisticated solutions from the conceptual phase to project completion. Serving clients in Metro Chicago and around the nation, Skender is committed to maximizing value through innovative and cost-effective practices. Skender was founded over fifty years ago in 1955 by Joseph Skender Sr. They have built their reputation on ethics, honesty and trust, and their long list of repeat clients is a testament to their success.
Robert Bogucki, Skender's IT Manager and in charge of "pretty much everything that has a plug," was not comfortable with the disaster recovery plan in place. "I was not at all confident in Skender's ability to survive a disaster soon after I came on board," said Bogucki. "And we didn't have a sound procedure in place for backing up all of our critical data on a daily basis." Skender had been doing local tape backups of files and then relying on people to carry tapes offsite. Server and network response times were slow on Mondays because the tape backup process extended past the backup window and was still running during normal business hours.
So Bogucki kicked off a disaster recovery project and started researching on the Internet. He worked with multiple consultants and vendors to learn about various disaster recovery options. One solution priced out at over $180,000 for a five year projected total cost. He also looked at several cloud-based services from vendors including Iron Mountain, i365, and Dell.
Cost was an important factor and paying $1.40 to $1.60 per gigabyte just didn't make sense after finding Zetta's website.
I'm confident we can now recover from anything.
Skender Construction's Zetta Solution
"Cost was an important factor and paying $1.40 to $1.60 per gigabyte just didn't make sense after finding Zetta's website," said Bogucki. Zetta has a much more reasonable cost model with no charge for the ZettaMirror agent software, no matter how many copies are installed, so Skender built the offsite replication portion of their solution around Zetta. First, Skender implemented a local disk-to-disk backup solution using two decommissioned servers just waiting to be re-purposed. They create bare metal restore images for their physical servers and backup their files and email using Symantec Backup Exec™. XenServer virtual server backups are accomplished using PHD Virtual™ and all data and files are saved to the two local backup servers.
Skender then installed the lightweight ZettaMirror agent on the two local backup servers, as well as the file server, to create and maintain nightly offsite copies of the locally backed up data.
"Zetta was up and replicating in a matter of minutes," said Bogucki. "It was very simple to implement and use." ZettaMirror runs on a prescheduled or on-demand basis and securely and efficiently pushes changes, at the subfile level, from the local system up to the Zetta storage service. The files are recreated in file system format, exactly mirroring the local storage environment.
Data is stored at Zetta in an encrypted format and protected against multiple failures for complete safety and security. Files on Zetta are directly mountable and accessible over the Internet either through a browser or through direct server mount points, so "restore time" can be as fast as a file system mount.
"It works great with lots of small files, large Backup Exec files, as well as deep folder structures," said Bogucki.
Skender also runs ZettaMirror against the corporate file server creating nightly offsite copies of all of the changes to the departmental file shares including Word, Excel and PDF files. With the automatic snapshots on the Zetta storage service, past versions of end user files can now also be easily accessed or recovered over the Internet.
"One of the things I liked most about Zetta was the direct access to files," said Bogucki. "Knowing that employees can access their files when servers are down was key to a solid DR solution for Skender."
Skender now has multiple terabytes of data being protected by Zetta. "I log in about once every couple of weeks to check on things, and so far, everything's working as promised," said Bogucki. "And customer support has been outstanding, too."
Although Skender has not had to do a restore from Zetta, yet, they're happy with the peace of mind it brings them. "We've come a very long way in a short while," said Bogucki with a smile. "I'm confident we can now recover from anything."