As part of a project launched last year, to implement business and process automation development, both the role of IT and the requirements for information availability are continuously increasing. This task is extremely important for the IT division of PJSC Lenenergo: to participate in the projects implemented by PJSC Rossety – the biggest Russian energy company, it is necessary to meet requirements imposed at a global level.
“The requirements for next-generation automation projects are obvious: improving the reliability of information systems and support new platforms, including Russian developed solutions and open-source software,” says Semyon Anishchenko, Deputy Chief Information Officer of PJSC Lenenergo.
It became obvious that the backup system based on the outdated Data Protector 8 platform no longer met the new requirements, as it lacked integration modules with many contemporary products – OS, DBMS and application systems. As a result, many of them were not covered by the regular backup processes. The problem had to be solved using DBMS or OS scripts: they were used to copy the data to intermediate file storage from which copies of the data were later collected. This additional mechanism was difficult to control: within a large organization, it is impossible to trace whether all backups have been successfully completed. “We have 500 servers so their status cannot be monitored by e-mail notifications, and manual checkups lead to high labor costs,” Anishchenko stresses. The IT department could not say with certainty that every backup procedure was error-free and on time, and that, when problems occur, system recovery was guaranteed.
Several systems were evaluated to solve these problems, and the new version of the Micro Focus Data Protector was considered the most suitable. It goes without saying that the management of PJSC Lenenergo, a company with state participation, should first consider the possibility of using Russian developed software products. Russian solutions are available on the market, but all those considered specialize in local workstation backup, and server systems don’t perform as well. In addition, the range of equipment supported by these products is not broad enough.
Data Protector looked more attractive compared with its competitors. “There are quite a few backup systems on the market, and each one has its benefits. Data Protector is strong precisely due to its ability to integrate with a huge number of systems,” Anishchenko notes.
It is extremely important that the new version of Data Protector has significantly expanded the range of supported platforms, including open-source systems. Where, before, it was impossible to perform MySQL or PostgreSQL backups, this feature is now available. There is also integration with the Astra Linux operating system, in use with PJSC Lenenergo.
It is especially important to have a single console enabling full control of all copying processes. This avoids the situation where several employees are responsible for backing up virtual machines, databases or application servers: there is no “scattering” of responsibilities. The centralization of the solution significantly increases process reliability. All stakeholders see the current state of affairs in real time and can take timely action to ensure that problems do not lead to an emergency situation.
As a result of this work, the backup system was upgraded from Data Protector 8 to version 11. An additional benefit was that there was no need to purchase new licenses, and migration was easier than implementing a new solution.
“Fortunately, real problems rarely arise, but each of them can have an extremely negative impact on business. Uncertainty about the performance of certain processes is a negative situation for the IT service, and the associated nervousness is costly for employees,” says Semyon Anishchenko. “The company has now reached a point where 90 percent of systems perform centralized Data Protector backups on a single agreed schedule, with full control over the results”.
In addition, the IT service is fully prepared to go live with new systems that were implemented as part of the newly integrated automation projects. Readiness to implement both opensource and Russian developed software is a strategically important task for the company.