"PlateSpin Forge cuts our disaster recovery times by 80% and improves availability of key systems by 98%."
Pieter van den Berg
Senior IT Manager
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is an autonomous association of 278 municipalities that works with the country’s parliament, National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and cabinet, plus provincial legislatures.
As the single, unified voice for local government in decision-making at a national and international level, SALGA is under constant pressure to provide reliable services to its members within a limited budget.
Pieter van den Berg, senior IT manager at SALGA, said, “Our municipal members rely more heavily on IT than ever before, a trend that does not show any signs of slowing down. As a result, it is even more important for us to avoid downtime. We wanted to find a way to address the risk posed by a lack of formal disaster recovery procedures within strict budgetary constraints and without overwhelming our small IT team.”
Working with Afrocentric IP, SALGA deployed PlateSpin Forge, an all-in-one hardware appliance that provides out-of-the-box protection for physical and virtual server workloads. By opting for a fully managed solution from Afrocentric, the organization was able to gain enterprise-class disaster recovery (DR) capabilities at a fraction of the cost and complexity typically associated with such offerings.
“In our opinion, there is nothing available in the market today that matches PlateSpin Forge in terms of price-performance ratio,” said van den Berg. “By engaging Afrocentric, we have taken pressure off our small IT team while putting management of the solution into the hands of true experts.”
SALGA uses PlateSpin Forge to protect its entire production server environment, with the exception of file servers located at its provincial offices. The production servers are virtualized with VMware ESX software and support a range of mission-critical applications, including SAP, Microsoft SQL Server and email systems.
With PlateSpin Forge in place, SALGA can automatically fail over in the event of a disaster, reducing the impact of a system failure on user productivity. The solution was put to the test when problems with electricity supply affected businesses across South Africa.
“Following a power outage, the data store containing most of our production servers became corrupt,” said van den Berg. “We tried through the night to fix the issues but finally decided at 8 a.m. the next morning to fail over to PlateSpin Forge. Within 45 minutes all production systems were up and running and our users could continue as normal.
“Once we were ready to switch back to our primary infrastructure, we collected the PlateSpin Forge device from Afrocentric and hooked it up in our production server room. The synchronization process was quick and painless, completing in just two hours.”
The PlateSpin solution significantly reduces the time and effort involved in disaster recovery for SALGA’s IT team. “PlateSpin Forge cuts our disaster recovery times by 80%, greatly reducing business risk,” said van den Berg. “It also reduces the time our IT team needs to spend administering the DR part of our infrastructure by 60%.”
By equipping SALGA’s users with more reliable access to the systems they need to work effectively, the solution is helping the organization flourish, while laying the foundations for a successful future. “Thanks to PlateSpin Forge and Afrocentric, we have improved the availability of key systems by 98%,” said van den Berg. “The PlateSpin solution offers relatively small organizations such as ours the capabilities of a much larger outfit, while delivering outstanding value for money. Since it can replicate new systems within a couple of hours, we can extend our IT environment without worrying about disaster recovery.”