Over the past four decades, Polaris Realty has established itself in Montreal, Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area as owners and developers of high-quality commercial real estate properties. Among those are Harbour Centre in Vancouver, the focal point of the Central Waterfront District near historic Gastown and the city’s financial area. As an owner, developer and manager, Polaris focuses on providing superior on-site services to long-term tenants in these three major centres.
The nature of Polaris Realty’s business means its operations are distributed across the country, including applications and data related to the development and management of its large commercial properties that support services to tenants daily. The company has more than 30 servers handling customer data and also ERP applications such as JD Edwards and Oracle, all managed by a very small IT staff.
Polaris Reality’s small IT team manages distributed applications and an extremely large amount of data across 30 servers, making backups a complex affair. The situation was compounded by its reliance on tape technology for its backups. Tape performance was inconsistent, so Polaris couldn’t be confident all its mission-critical data was being backed up as part of its disaster recovery plan. Meeting its Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) targets was also in question. A major data loss or prolonged restore process would severely impact property management services for commercial tenants, including high-profile brands, across the country.
In addition to being inconsistent, the backup process with tapes was also very slow. Backups were limited by the speed of their tape autoloader, meaning the backup windows could exceed a day or more. This further hindered ability of Polaris to meet compliance requirements. Tape backups in general are subject to many pitfalls, including the corruption of the magnetic media and the potential for the physical tapes to be lost or stolen. And just as it takes a significant amount of time to back up data to tape, the restore process is just as slow. This is compounded by the fact that Polaris disaster recovery plan requires data be taken offsite, so it may take days to get the tapes back to even begin a restore procedure.
Backing up to tape is also a CAPEX approach to IT procurement, and since it can be difficult to anticipate the growth in the amount of data that must be backed up, tape technology can require repeat
A key challenge faced by Polaris was a common one with tape backup systems – they are difficult to manage when you have distributed IT infrastructure with data and applications located in multiple geographies. It became a challenge to create and track individual system vaults making them difficult to use during a restoration. Keeping track of unsuccessful backups from multiple machines added to the Polaris data management challenges.
Polaris Realty ultimately selected BackupSilo, a Supra ITS company, for its comprehensive managed backup services backed by its world-class Tier 3 data centres across Canada.
The property management company replaced its unwieldy tape backup system with a single appliance to support secure cloud backup and data recovery for all its data and applications regardless of location. BackupSilo’s managed backup services support remote monitoring and management of Polaris’ backup infrastructure and securely sends backups to its hosted repository from all of its locations across the country.
Managed backup from BackupSilo fulfills all the requirements of Polaris Realty’s disaster recovery plan, including its RTOs and RPOs, and takes care of the property management company’s entire infrastructure. It replicates all applications and data to the cloud based on pre-defined policies, including those designed to meet compliance and data retention requirements.
This operating expense approach provides Polaris with many benefits that are particularly well-suited for a business with limited IT resources, and distributed users and locations. It can now easily add new locations and provision services for any cloud backups required. BackupSilo takes on the job of daily monitoring and management of online backup jobs. Backups are done securely through a single port over SSL/TLS, and Polaris doesn’t require a VPN.
Polaris has complete visibility into its secure cloud backup through a portal so it can keep tabs on backup health, review cloud repository consumption, and manage its billing.
“Having a small IT department handling the needs of a geographically spread out organization has meant the support provided by BackupSilo has been critical to the health of our business. BackupSilo has been a key technology partner for more than 15 years because it responds to the changes in the technological landscape so that we can leverage innovation to cost-effectively safeguard our data and applications and avoid any disruption to our business.” – Cleve Jones, IT Manager, Polaris Realty (Canada) Limited