"When we need to upgrade or replace physical servers, the virtualisation capabilities of PlateSpin Forge will make it easier and less risky. The solution is a perfect fit for us: we see technology as a means of making the business more productive, so the last thing we want is something that occupies valuable time. PlateSpin Forge gives us reliable backup and recovery that is also effortless."
Sanetronic Company Limited
Sanetronic Company Limited was founded in 1988 and specialises in the sale and distribution of high-tech RF/microwave, millimetre-wave, optical and high-reliability electronic components and devices. The company employs 70 people in its Hong Kong headquarters and in seven other offices throughout mainland China.
Sanetronic serves the extremely fast growing and demanding market in China for electronic components in telecommunications, IT and other industries. Many of its clients have just-in-time requirements for electronic equipment, so Sanetronic places a high premium on always having its key systems available to support sales and support activities. These systems include: email and calendaring; client and product databases; an in-house application that combines ERP, CRM, Office Automation and instant messaging; and several web and FTP services.
In most cases, Sanetronic was using server clustering in its head office to protect these workloads. However, the company lacked a reliable offsite disaster recovery option, leaving key services vulnerable in the event of an incident at the primary site.
Sanetronic had a variety of different backup tools and regimens in place, from full nightly server imaging to ad-hoc manual backups for less important systems. Managing all of the different backups was complex and time-consuming, and there was uncertainty around recovery procedures. Knowing that it required at least eight hours to restore a single server, Sanetronic wanted a way to simplify backup and accelerate recovery.
After viewing the technology at a seminar and conducting a successful onsite proof of concept, Sanetronic chose to deploy a PlateSpin Forge®. PlateSpin Forge is a self-contained disaster recovery appliance that enables up to 25 physical and virtual workloads to be recovered at the click of a mouse.
"We spoke to other businesses about backup and disaster recovery, and we reviewed some offsite solutions that were very expensive," said P.Y. Chow, Managing Director, Sanetronic Company Limited. "Uniquely, PlateSpin Forge is cost-effective and easy both to deploy and to operate."
The standard software included with the solution makes it easy to create virtual copies of production servers and set up incremental replication to keep them synchronised. In the event of a failure, virtual copies of the affected servers can be restarted on the PlateSpin Forge appliance, enabling users to continue working while the primary environment is restored.
"PlateSpin Forge gave us exactly what we needed: easier protection and faster recovery for key systems, plus a cost-effective future option for offsite backup and recovery," said Chow. "We were impressed by NetIQ's (now a part of Micro Focus) partners for the solution—Ingram Micro and Multisoft —who were highly knowledgeable and have been very supportive. PlateSpin Forge is easy to configure and operate via its web interface, so we were able to get up and running very quickly."
Sanetronic is currently protecting six physical servers with PlateSpin Forge, and will soon add another four. The company takes automated daily snapshots of most systems, and backs up its critical Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange Server environments on a four-hourly and six-hourly basis respectively.
"We run quarterly tests of our PlateSpin® solution which show that it takes less than one hour to recover key systems," said Chow. "We will soon move the appliance to a disaster recovery site ten miles away to provide greater resiliency. We also plan to use PlateSpin Forge to protect selected business-critical blade PCs—we have 40 blades in Hong Kong."
Sanetronic has just three people in its IT operations team, supporting technology distributed across eight offices. The highly automated PlateSpin Forge appliance has all but eliminated the administrative workload associated with managing server and database backups, freeing IT staff to focus on other issues.
"Data is the fundamental element in a successful business, encompassing all of the company's experience and knowledge across internal and external activities," said Chow. "If our data systems were to fail even for a short period, it could be catastrophic for the business. PlateSpin Forge gives us an affordable and reliable backup solution that also simplifies and accelerates disaster recovery. Best of all, the solution requires minimal administration."
An unexpected benefit of PlateSpin Forge is that its automated physical-to-virtual migration will make it easier for Sanetronic to migrate some of its physical servers to VMware. The company will first move them to the PlateSpin appliance, then back over to a new VMware environment.
"When we need to upgrade or replace physical servers, the virtualisation capabilities of PlateSpin Forge will make it easier and less risky," said Chow. "The solution is a perfect fit for us: we see technology as a means of making the business more productive, so the last thing we want is something that occupies valuable time. PlateSpin Forge gives us reliable backup and recovery that is also effortless."