CASE STUDY: ACT Network Solutions Flies Through Recovery

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Looking to deploy a backup and disaster recovery solution to protect your company’s mission-critical data and employee productivity?

Don’t overlook the biggest risks to business continuity. What would happen if one or more mission-critical servers failed and the onsite tape backup didn’t work? What if a disgruntled employee reformats a key server’s RAID array on his last day on the job? What if the server room floods? What if an employee accidentally deletes critical information that impedes or stops business operation in its tracks?

The distance between a disaster and a timely recovery depends entirely on the disaster recovery solutions you’ve deployed, tested, and put into operation prior to the failure. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to prepare until after the disaster strikes.

(Read the rest of this case study below.)

ACT Network Solutions Flies Through Recovery With StorageCraft
Can you afford to ignore the risks? If you want to ensure that your company survives, you can’t. Without a solution, the costs of a critical computer failure and subsequent disaster recovery can quickly add up, both in terms of money and reputation. It’s not a matter of if a disaster will happen, but when, and at what cost to the business.

But when it comes to creating and implementing a disaster recovery plan, it’s important that you do it right. You don’t want your planning to be for not.

A comprehensive solution enables IT managers to back up all data, programs, open files, and operating systems without a fuss.

It allows you to back up as frequently as every fifteen minutes and acts as a failover backup server and can replicate off-site if necessary. It should ensure rapid recovery from bare metal to dissimilar hardware or to and from virtual environments and it should include granular recovery of individual files and folders, as well as centralized administration from a management console.

With twenty-four years’ experience providing IT services and support, messaging products, and enterprise backup solutions, ACT Network Solutions helps clients create these kinds of solutions, with easy-to-understand analysis of risk exposure as it would impact business continuity for the client organization. The company motto “the advice is always free” reflects their commitment to developing relationships with clients through clear communication and an honest evaluation of technology alternatives.

ACT Network Solutions was engaged by Putman Media recently to design and deploy a remote server environment using StorageCraft® ShadowProtect®.

Established sixty-seven years ago, Putman Media is a leading B2B media firm, delivering digital media products, and applying the same standards of excellence it uses for its print properties to a large number of web properties serving specific manufacturing communities.

According to Jeff Hoffman, owner of ACT Network Solutions,

Putman Media asked us to provide a disaster recovery solution for their server farm. The company recently experienced a major server failure that resulted in some data loss, and they wanted an easy-to-implement failover server system for their corporate office.

They are a busy publishing house that needs an always-available environment for local staff and off-premises employees. Nearly half the company staff works outside the office, and often at odd hours given their need to meet critical deadlines. So it’s important to be up and running 24×7.

ACT Network Solutions provided Putman Media with an off-site virtual server system using multiple licenses of ShadowProtect Server and a robust pipeline to back up their server farm in a data center thirty miles away. The off-site virtual server was built using the StorageCraft patented technology HeadStart Restore®, which allowed them to pre-stage their backups and be up and running after simple DNS pointer changes in thirty minutes. Everything was available for in-house and external employees alike with a minimum loss of performance and availability.

As the new system was being tested, Rose Southard, VP Technology and Web Development for Putman Media, joked that since they had just endured a disaster and were now prepared for another, Putman Media was “probably” safe from any such event for the next several years.

But what happened next? According to Hoffman, within seventy-two hours of being declared operational, the new StorageCraft system had to be rolled into production due to a second major server failure.

The system worked like a charm and the entire backup environment was up and running in under fifteen minutes. In-house staff even remarked that the response time of the off-site environment was almost the same as when the in-house servers were running. It took several days to get the hardware replaced, but only a few minutes to rebuild the platform on the new hardware and get the in-house server back up and running. We returned the HeadStart Restore servers to their original roles and the client was happy.

An environment like this using HeadStart Restore and the other virtualization features of ShadowProtect is designed so the business can quickly recover and continue to operate—even if all employees work off-site—and can be switched back to the original server farm just as quickly. Using ShadowProtect could activate a backup on any or all of the protected servers selectively or as a group in minutes with a call to the ACT team.

As an added bonus, ShadowProtect has eliminated the burden of data file backup using an old and out of date tape system, saving the Putman Media team time and expense. File restoration is now a simple matter of calling the ACT Support Center to retrieve the version of the image that the user had lost from the server using ShadowProtect.

Rose Southard was more than pleased with the solution:

The first server failure was painful, but fortunately it was not a critical server. Luckily we had the StorageCraft solution in place for the second disaster—because that was a mission-critical server. We never imagined that we would be using the backup server within days of having it set up. Once we had a new server, Jeff and his team rebuilt it from the backups and we were back up and running with no negative impact on our business.

ACT’s Jeff Hoffman sums it up this way:

Since going live with StorageCraft ShadowProtect, we’ve had to dial-up the backups of their servers to either deal with a hardware failure or retrieve lost data for the client. Each time the StorageCraft software has performed flawlessly. We’ve also built Putman Media a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to complement the StorageCraft solution to deal with the many possible events that could threaten business continuity moving forward. It’s a great feeling when a customer says, “It worked just like you said it would. Thanks!”

The ability to backup and restore critical systems with minimal downtime has never been more important. Disk failures and human error alone cause a huge percent of all data loss, often crippling business operations and costing companies up to billions of dollars annually.

Downtime and risks to data and productivity can be significantly reduced when organizations adopt a proven onsite/off-site backup and disaster recovery solution that can also recover operating systems and applications. Comprehensive server backup with StorageCraft ShadowProtect is a powerful, reliable BDR solution for today’s always-on enterprise.

ACT Network Solutions

ACT has partnered with most of the top names in the computer industry today to provide their customers with the best alternatives to meet their computer and networking needs.

They provide the guidance and technical expertise to make the most of your computer budget. They’ll show you the alternatives and the business and financial consequences of each. They can save you money on a more affordable product and they’ll also show you when you should invest a little extra to get better value for your purchase.

They’re more than just a computer company, they’re also your partner in your network investment. They support what they sell so you don’t have to worry about after-sale support.

ACT was formed in 1988 as a computer equipment and software retail outlet. As their customers needs evolved, so did they. For twenty-three years, businesspeople as well as school and government administrators have relied on their expertise to get the maximum payback on their computer networking investment.

As the computer industry and their customers needs changed over the years, they’ve added Internet access services to their offerings. They provide dedicated T-1, DSL, ISDN, and wireless Internet access, as well as web hosting, e-mail services, SPAM control, and virus control.

ACT also offers more Internet access alternatives than just about any ISP in the U.S. ACT currently has offices in Cary, IL and Rockport, TX and offers over 17,000 access points across the country.

Image source: delgaudm

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Matthew Rayback

Matthew Rayback

Matthew Rayback is the Content Marketing Manager at StorageCraft. His roots are in creative writing and book publishing, but he believes the guiding principles for all solid, useful content are the same: quality, thoughtfulness, and honesty. He also wears his Dungeons & Dragons shirt to work with pride.

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