One of the largest provincial agencies for processing college applications in Canada, this public sector organization is staffed by approximately 100 permanent and contract employees, and provides shared IT services, including desktop support, email, application hosting, remote access, land and mobile telephony as well as conference room facilities. Its key offerings to colleges in the province include core applicant and partner portals, as well as automated integration points with some common technologies shared with independent college-owned companies.
Earlier, the agency made the decision to from procuring its own dedicated hardware to outsourcing their co-location and management of more than 175 servers in an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model.
The provincial agency had adopted an elastic cloud model so it could move away from a hardware-focused, CAPEX approach to an IaaS model. It had already embarked on a rationalization of its IT infrastructure to eliminate redundancy and maximize the reuse of strategic IT assets, resources, and processes using proven industry standards. With the migration to an elastic cloud model, it was looking for a cloud backup and data recovery solution that could easily align with its IaaS approach.
The nature of the agency’s business is somewhat seasonal based on deadlines for college applications across the province. One of the challenges of a seasonal business is provisioning for peak loads on computing resources.
During those peak load times, the organization’s portals receive millions of hits from prospective students filing out applications from around the world. A significant activity peak from December to mid-February not only demands more compute resources for performance, it also requires the safeguarding of the generated data.
The agency has more than 50TB that must be backed up. The backup solution it selected also needed to meet long-term retention policies, compliance, and privacy requirements, including those specific to the post-secondary education sector in Canada.
The agency’s existing infrastructure was limited to approximately 10TB of storage, and backups of its more than 175 servers took many hours to perform. These backups also required a great deal of storage space bandwidth due to lack of deduplication and compression capabilities.
Ultimately, the organization wanted a backup solution that could support its goal of 99.9% uptime. Not only did data need to be backed up and restored rapidly if called upon, but its entire application stack needed to be completely redundant in order to meet its Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) targets.
In addition, the agency was looking to optimize storage use and better manage bandwidth usage while reducing backup windows.
The agency wanted a partner that was well-aligned with its goals of having a highly-reliable online data backup solution and reducing vendor duplication. BackupSilo, a specialized Supra ITS company, was chosen because Supra ITS already provided the agency its cloud services built on HPE hardware and residing in a world-class tier 3 data centre in Toronto.
BackupSilo provides the needed redundancy through replication on IaaS. Using Veeam Availability Suite and Veeam Cloud Connect, BackupSilo enables the provincial agency to meet its secure cloud backup and disaster recovery plan goals, including RTO and RPO targets. The agency also has a solution built for maximum redundancy and with flexible failover options.
More specifically, BackupSilo works in concert with the agency’s deployment of HPE StoreOnce industry-leading data and application availability and monitoring, in combination with Veeam Software and the HPE 3PAR storage system.
By selecting BackupSilo with its broader Supra ITS engagement, the agency was able to eliminate the uncertainties that arise from working with multiple vendors, and it can seamlessly scale its backup demands for high-load seasonal activity.
Overall, it has been able to centralize its existing hardware, and leverage BackupSilo’s secure cloud backup and replication services while maintaining compliance requirements. The solution also helps the agency meet long-term data retention policies, fulfill its Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with customers, and meet its RPO and RTO targets.
BackupSilo provides 24×7 availability of its cloud backup and data recovery services, which means the agency can meet its uptime goals in the event of any failure – major or minor. This results in better services to its students while also meeting the needs of the organization’s IT strategy and technology roadmap. It also complies with the agency’s information management policies and standards.
Since working with BackupSilo, the agency has reduced costs twofold, and has completely moved away from large capital investments to an operating expense model for its cloud backup and data recovery services. By choosing to migrate to an IaaS model for both data management and its overall IT infrastructure, the organization has the flexibility to scale in peak times and then return to normal operating conditions.
The organization is now assured of consistent, reliable backups that meet its data retention guidelines without the inconvenience of large backup windows. Furthermore, the deduplication and compression features in BackupSilo’s Veeam-powered backup enable the agency to replicate all applications and data with minimum amounts of bandwidth and storage. The agency is also able to take more frequent storage snapshots with recovery capabilities that minimize data loss and costly down time in the event of a disruption.