An Indiana based school association approached StoneFly, Inc., for backup and advanced disaster recovery needs. The school has a background of starting as a pre-school and then adding grades on an annual note. Therefore, as its classroom space increased, the demand on its IT resources enlarged on a proportional note. At this point of time, it felt the need to have Offsite storage to replicate data for disaster recovery. To know how the California based StoneFly company is helping Indiana based school let’s first take a look at the IT challenge faced by the school.
The IT representative from the school association said that they were facing challenges with their current backup environment. The school was using 2 bare metal machine and 8VMs hosted on two pieces of hardware for their backup needs. The school organization was using a Windows Server backup for backing up virtual machines, but had no offsite backup for advanced disaster recovery. As the task of backing up was becoming tedious, the company was searching for offsite or cloud backup to make the whole process future proof and automated. For this reason, the said educational institution approached Silicon Valley based StoneFly, Inc, well known for its innovative data storage product-line.
The Solution expert from StoneFly said that in order to replicate data to an Offsite/cloud storage it should first be physically backed up. It means they have to store it somewhere, before they can take it to the cloud.
They are two ways to go with this approach—One is to use one of the School’s VMware boxes for backup and replicate it to the cloud. With this approach the customer can get rid of the need to buy a physical appliance for data caching and then moving it to the cloud.
The other solution is to go for a caching appliance which first stores the backups and then uploads the backed up content to cloud. Although, this approach makes users invest on a physical appliance, it is future proof and will prove as a highly redundant solution.
Going with the first approach in detail, the solution expert from StoneFly said that the company will load StoneFly CDR365 software on one of the VMware boxes, and then upload data from physical servers to that virtual device and then use that as a cache device to upload the data backed up to the cloud. The highlight of this practice is that it will eliminate hogging of internet connections available in the school premises, as the cached data can be moved to the cloud when bandwidth usage is minimal. So, once it is done, it will be highly scalable and manageable.
Instead, centralizing the data and then uploading it to the cloud will make the backup task more simple and efficient. Since, the organization is planning to add another VMware box and do the cloud backup on a simultaneous note, StoneFly solution expert said that they can use the new VMware appliance as caching hub to centralize data and then upload it to the cloud.
StoneFly CDR365 has the capability of being a VMware server host and at the same time can serve as a backup server.
The functioning of CDR365 goes as follows- The backup engine does all the imaging from physical and virtual servers and backs up data under policy basis like when to do and what to do. Then it also offers add-ons based on policy and then converts them into a virtual machine with the help of hypervisor. And since this appliance has storage controllers it provides SAN capability which is pre-built into the appliance. The acquired SAN storage can act as an iSCSI to a VM site connected to a virtual storage or it can be provisioned as SAN storage outside VMs or to physical servers. The storage can also act like NAS storage or file storage.
The reason to include SAN capability is when we bring in data; we need to secure it by snapshots. Also all images should be deduped, encrypted and replicated on the appliance. So, everything must be done at block mode level to avoid incompatibility issues and that can only be achieved through a SAN. With the on-board SAN capability users can also get mirroring by creating active-active mirroring for advanced disaster recovery. And as the educational institution has another VMware appliance, StoneFly CDR365 can make it into a failover appliance. By doing so, StoneFly DR365 storage controller creates high availability to protect all user data.
If the School is interested in going fancy with a physical backup appliance then they can go for a StoneFly DR365 Fusion Cluster DR Backup Appliance, which acts as a purpose built-hyper-converged solution to consolidate all the server and backup systems needs into one easy to manage highly available cluster appliance. The clustered system will offer high availability as it has no point of failure due to active-active hot-swappable cluster nodes with failover and failback in a single chassis.
Customers who have a local Fusion cluster appliance and VMware environment can go for a mirror appliance on VMware virtual appliance and then replicate it to cloud either in Microsoft Azure (Public cloud) or private cloud like StoneFly Business Center.
Hence, by having a virtual and physical appliance in the cloud, the appliance users can satiate agency requirements. If they go for the physical appliance, customers will have full control of data as they get the ability to see a dashboard which is loaded with features. In this dashboard users can see all virtual machines and physical machines and backup plans and tasks. They are all available in graphical interface for easy understanding and implementation.
The Indiana based school was getting a SAN storage capacity, host machine and an offsite backup with just the investment made on a StoneFly Backup and advanced disaster recovery option.
Secondly, they were getting the solution at a fraction of a cost than what other vendors in the industry were offering.
Thirdly, the user was also getting a replication feature to StoneFly Cloud Drive on Microsoft Azure or a StoneFly Business Center. Hence, as soon as an outage or disaster occurs on-premises, the StoneFly Cloud Drive can be quickly mounted as a remote iSCSI drive to easily access all of your data that has been asynchronously replicated to Azure. Remote replication to a StoneFly Cloud Drive ensures minimum downtime and maximum data availability should the unthinkable occur.
Since, StoneFly CDR365 or StoneFly DR365 Fusion Cluster were proving as innovative solutions for backup and advanced disaster recovery on an economic note, the school representative said that their organization will go for one of the solution within a couple of weeks.