Fishburns wanted to increase the speed and reliability of its disaster recovery capabilities. The company implemented a PlateSpin Forge® appliance from Micro Focus. PlateSpin Forge enables the recovery of all servers within two hours of a disaster and allows Fishburns to test data and server recovery at any time.
“The PlateSpin solution gives us fully repeatable, highly automated recovery within known and tested timescales.”
Fishburns Solicitors is one of the foremost professional indemnity practices in the UK and has been providing legal services to the insurance industry for more than 30 years. The company employs both experienced attorneys and insurance professionals.
Fishburns Solicitors had a conventional disaster recovery plan: The British indemnity practice was backing up all data to tape and then regularly moving the tapes to a secure offsite location.
Unfortunately, restoring from tape was slow and required significant manual effort and expertise. To recover just one of its servers, Fishburns needed to rebuild and reconfigure the operating system and then restore the data.
The effort and disruption involved also made it difficult to test the recovery procedure. Fishburns was confident that it had protected all its data. However, it was not confident that in the event of a disaster it could recover that data rapidly enough to avoid business disruption.
Keen to demonstrate a high level of contingency planning to major clients, Fishburns looked for a disaster recovery appliance that would offer extremely rapid restores and the ability to test recovery at low cost.
Fishburns approached its long-term IT services provider, Trans European Technology (TET), to "which recommended PlateSpin Forge from Micro Focus. PlateSpin Forge is an all-in-one disaster recovery hardware appliance that delivers high-performance protection of up to 25 physical and virtual server workloads. In the event of a production server outage or disaster, workloads can be rapidly powered on inside the self-contained recovery environment and continue to run normally until the production environment is restored.
Fishburns was also planning to refresh its storage area network (SAN), so it decided to reuse the old SAN hardware alongside the PlateSpin Forge appliance at its remote disaster recovery site. The PlateSpin Forge appliance is protecting three critical systems at Fishburns, spanning a total of nine physical servers.
“TET did an excellent job setting up PlateSpin Forge; the in-depth technical knowledge of their consultants is highly impressive,” said Alan Budd, IT director at Fishburns. “The key benefit of the solution is the confidence it provides that we can be back up and running quickly in the event of a server failure.” This confidence comes largely from Fishburns’ ability to test the recovery capability whenever it wants.
Maintaining effective communications with clients is essential for Fishburns, and one of the three key systems protected on PlateSpin Forge is its Microsoft Exchange email server. The solution also mirrors a large Interwoven document management system and an internal accounts system.
“The PlateSpin Forge appliance enables us to demonstrate a very high level of disaster recovery capability to our clients,” said Budd. “As industry regulation grows, our clients can be confident in our reliability as a business partner.”
By implementing a PlateSpin Forge appliance, Fishburns achieved its primary objectives: increasing the speed and reliability of server recovery and simultaneously reducing its administrative burden.
PlateSpin Forge allows Fishburns to perform a full test of all the servers at its disaster recovery site whenever it wants, with minimal administrative effort and zero disruption to production systems. “We have complete confidence that the solution will work when we need it to,” said Budd.
Including the time taken to relocate staff to rented offices, Fishburns estimates that recovery to normal operations would take just 36 hours in the event of a total disaster at the primary site, compared to the estimated 10 days required with the previous technology.
“In addition to significantly decreasing our risk and ensuring that we can continue to provide almost uninterrupted client service in the event of a site-wide disaster, PlateSpin Forge gives us much greater control and confidence over backup and recovery,” said Budd. “In place of a largely manual recovery process with significant unknowns, the PlateSpin solution gives us fully repeatable, highly automated recovery within known and tested timescales.”