Consolidate backup approach across six different sites, to ensure high availability, disaster recovery, and full regulation compliance.
As part of the pharmaceutical industry, Almac operates in a highly regulated environment, with very strict IT and data backup requirements. With its global headquarters based in Northern Ireland, five additional remote sites are located across the rest of the UK and Ireland. Initially each site accessed production data directly from the HQ facility and, as a result, no long-term retention backup plan was required.
However, as a result of continued expansion, the sites experienced significant growth and several challenges emerged, as Darren O’Neill, Infrastructure Systems Engineer for Almac, explains: “The remote sites began generating their own production data, but we didn’t have a local tape infrastructure for long term backup retention. At our HQ we use Micro Focus Data Protector as our enterprise backup solution, however at our remote sites we opted for a VM backup solution for periodic data replication back to the HQ. Continuing with this strategy at the remote sites, but complying with our production data backup requirements, would need a local tape solution alongside maintenance and support. With our environment growing more diverse using multiple databases, the licensing structure with our previous solution had integration limitations and did not offer the seamless link with HPE StoreOnce which Data Protector included.”
The company and data growth also meant an overall rethink in backup strategies. It took 65 hours to run a full backup of 50TB to two data centers to ensure high availability and disaster recovery. This was performed every weekend and would often cause various challenges for O’Neill, especially in the case of drive or tape issues. Almac looked for a solution to streamline its HQ backup and bring its remote sites in line with long term data retention policies.