Full-server restores go from 10 hours to under two for America’s top fixture manufacturer
Trion Industries adopts Dell AppAssure gaining restore time, 80% storage space savings with deduplication, and an astounding 492% ROI
When backups affect $100 million dollar revenue
With revenue expected to come in this year at just over $100 million dollars, Trion Industries thinks big. As the leading hook and point-of-display manufacturer in the U.S., Trion makes all the kinds of hooks that you see as you browse through Target or Wal-Mart – the ones that the big box stores use to display their prices and their merchandise. From a large plant in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Trion’s large and growing manufacturing, inventory, and distribution processes are supported by the small, but big-thinking IT team headed up by Network/Systems Administrator Dustin Day. Day’s big thinking included finding the right backup and disaster recovery solution that could handle the company’s growth.
“Trion’s average operating costs are about $50 million dollars,” says Day, “and we service a global market, so we’re a leader in our field, but we were losing money and staff resources with the backup and disaster recovery products we had in place.” Day estimated that the tape-based solution they were using, along with Windows Backup Utility easily cost Trion $50,000 in staff time spent dealing with the inadequate backups and systems that weren’t working for Trion’s IT needs.
“Our main server has a lot of important applications on it – payroll software, time clocks, our active directory, the domain controller, our AutoCAD, and our DNS among others,” says Day. “It had been slowing down because of the amount of data on it.” In order to make sure Trion’s data was protected, Day developed a comprehensive backup schedule, which included a differential at 1am every four days and a full backup on Fridays. The only problem was that the differentials ended up taking up to four hours to complete, and the full backups with data verification took 15 hours, even though Day’s team was only backing up 250GB. “Even just backing up the data, the backup window was getting unusable,” says Day. “We couldn’t back up the whole server. Only the data. It was a nightmare. Every year I’d make a schedule for how the tapes would work, but I knew that if a server went down, it could take three days to recover because we only had the data backed up.”
After years of human errors, dust and dirt creating tape dysfunctions, tape costs, scheduling issues, and a 10-20% failure rate, Day and his team knew they needed to find a better solution for Trion’s burgeoning data, not to mention the protection of all the servers and an up-to-date disaster recovery solution. “The catalyst was that we got a new server,” recalls Day, “and I thought we’d just use the same architecture for our backup and DR, so we considered getting big tape protection for it. But I was very disappointed by the products we looked at. I wasn’t really happy with what was out there, and didn’t have budget for SAN. Also, I wanted to eliminate tapes and find a safer place to store our data, much less eliminate the human error or transporting tapes.”
Heading in a new direction with BUDR
Day thought big and took his team in a completely different direction with Dell AppAssure.
Instead of scheduling a staff member to take home a successful backup tape and bring it back according to a tape schedule, Day’s team now schedules regular Dell AppAssure snapshot intervals before replicating the data to an offsite location. Not only has Dell AppAssure eliminated the backup window and the use of cumbersome tape, it’s also given Trion a sophisticated disaster recovery (DR) process, using virtualization. “Dell AppAssure is installed on the Hyper-V backup, which performs snapshots and stores them to a local RAID 50 2.7TB array,” says Day. “Once completed, the snapshots are replicated to our offsite DR location which has a DROBO storage array attached to it. Our DR plan before was to buy a new server and get the data on it, if you can. Now we can go from virtual to physical with lots of flexibility due to Dell AppAssure’s ability to work with dissimilar hardware. Since we know we have the data because of Dell AppAssure, we can just get a rack server or something from a local company and put the data back on there.”
The benefits just keep coming
Day’s team has found that Trion continues to reap great benefits with Dell AppAssure, including:
Restoring to Dissimilar Hardware. “You can use your own hardware on or off-site. You don’t have to go out and buy more. Dell AppAssure doesn’t require a lot of resources and we can replicate over our own network.”
Significant Deduplication & Compression. “The awesome Pre/Post Compression saves so much room on our backup disk array. We’ve seen 60%-80% increase of free space on our backup disk arrays, which was a huge surprise. We’re protecting 14 servers but only consuming 121.6 GB of space. I looked at it a couple of times to make sure it was right – it’s just that good. We can expand on the free space and now have room for future servers.”
Amazing RTO/RPO. “When we tested Dell AppAssure with our file server, it took only about 30-40 minutes to restore back to a fully functional server. With our previous solution it would have taken 8-10 hours – that is, as long as the backups weren’t corrupt.”
Like most IT heroes who think big, Day and his staff are sleeping better at night because they know their data is safe, their servers can be easily restored in no time at all, they’ve saved the company money, and they don’t have to worry about carrying tapes around all the time. With Dell AppAssure on its team, Trion’s big growth is protected in a big way.
“The pricing is reasonable, the software is powerful, and Dell AppAssure’s technical support is outstanding,” says a satisfied Day.