Switching from Acronis to Dell AppAssure, Health Software Company Gets Citrix Xen Virtual Server Protection and Lightning-Fast Recovery
Dell AppAssure’s Administrative Console Offers Easy Data Retrieval
- Managed Data: 60 TB total
- Servers: roughly 50 servers (including development)
- Virtualization: Total virtualized environment
- Staff supporting: 150
Why the Console Matters
Danny Welch kept stumbling over one key element in his backup and recovery solution: Why were admin consoles on the products he used not at all intuitive? “When you’re trying to recover something for someone,” explains Welch, “this is the piece that makes or breaks everything in terms of speed.”
As the corporate systems manager at American HealthTech, a software developer and provider for long-term health care providers located in Ridgeland, MS, he’s on the front line when it comes to knowing disaster recovery and server backup products. American HealthTech started with Veritas Backup Exec, and most of its clients were on Backup Exec, but for Welch, it wasn’t enough. “It worked for a while – until our backups got large – really large. We wanted the disaster recovery product to capture more – not just the data, but the whole machine.” So Welch and his team switched to Acronis True Image. And again, for a while, that worked too.
But as Welch explains, “We liked it well enough and were able to restore from single files all the way to the entire server, which was great…. but as it turns out, Acronis had tools that ran separately and the interface wasn’t intuitive.” That meant that Welch had to spend precious time figuring out how to dig down and retrieve what he needed before he could actually go get the information he wanted.
“With Acronis, we had to dig to get data out of Exchange. We could do it, but it took longer and wasn’t as pleasant. The winning feature with Dell AppAssure is the ability to click a server and then choose a recovery point, right click and explore. That instant mounting – to look at the machine – that is the win!”
Then he came across Dell AppAssure.
Dell AppAssure Provides Citrix Xen Virtual Server Protection
“The admin console made all the difference,” says Welch. “There’s no question that Acronis’ True Image Server was similar to Dell AppAssure in some of their backup processes, but the winning feature was the ability to click a server and then choose a recovery point and explore. It’s that instant mounting that was the win.”
So now Welch doesn’t have to figure out how to do something when it needs doing, he just does it.
“Shortly after we’d had Dell AppAssure running, we got a call from one of our programmers. He implemented a script that ran at 1 a.m. and it blew up. Support called and phone lines were going crazy,” explains Welch. “Development comes in and says, ‘Can you give me a snapshot from right before and after the script ran?’ Normally I cringe because I just can’t get it that quickly or that close. But with Dell AppAssure, I was able to go in and get one image from midnight and then one from 2am. I quickly copied these two database versions to his desktop; he was able figure out the problem just like that.”
For Welch and his team, grabbing data that fast is like magic. “There’s just no way to describe the feeling of getting the information, or the stuff people need in that amount of time,” muses Welch. “I can even do it while I’m on the phone with them!”
But make no mistake about it, the user interface is just the icing on the cake, as far as Welch is concerned. The cake, so to speak, is the entire suite of impressive features that Welch and his team think is fantastic – including the ability to protect his virtual servers. “I’m using Dell AppAssure to protect a couple dozen servers hosted on XenServer,” Welch notes. “I’m very happy with the results. I just treat the VM’s like physical machines and install the agent on the ones I want to protect. I’ve had to do some restores and Dell AppAssure has come through every time. I can’t heap enough praise on this product. It’s just great!”
After another laugh, Welch says something most IT folks wish they could say. “It’s made backups fun!”
Doing What’s Best for the Client
Since American HealthTech is almost a fully virtualized environment, Welch uses Dell AppAssure’s flexible licensing – paying for the host and not by the client – which allows the company to give its clients what they need, backing up only what it needs. “Our clients want a bundled solution and they want our recommendation about what’s best to use for their company. Since we want to recommend good products to clients, it’s helpful if we know them first,” says Welch.
Welch has given his full endorsement to the company to begin recommending Dell AppAssure to its clients.
“Our clients’ applications live and die by SQL,” Welch notes. “I’d recommend Dell AppAssure for SQL, especially for the smaller, single facilities where we are their only IT staff. I could tell them that in a disaster recovery situation, we can go in, get the table, database, or whole server, if need be. And if a client is still on tape,” Welch adds, “well, that’s a nightmare! I’d say the entire process of Dell AppAssure is faster than just getting the tape into the machine and getting started.”
Now Welch tells everyone about the fun he’s having with backups. “A couple of weeks ago it really saved us, and I’m so glad that we had it in place. I don’t know how we ever got by without it. Get it! No question — it is the best backup product I’ve ever used. Nothing is even close. We’ve used a lot of products, but nothing touches this!”
About American HealthTech
For more than 30 year, American HealthTech has provided software suites to more than 5,000 Post Acute Care providers. Its application suites are built for multi-facility chains with a single-database architecture, multi-facility rollups and group processing for regional and corporate companies, as well as for single facilities.