AppAssure Software, a leading developer of award-winning backup and disaster recovery software products for mission-critical Windows application servers, today announced that Information Management Services (IMS), a provider of IT and clinical trial co-coordinating center services in support of biomedical research, replaced Symantec Backup Exec in favor of AppAssure’s Replay 4 backup and recovery software, to eliminate 58-hour backup windows, tape backups, and 24-hour data restore periods.
“We provide an extensive array of IT services and clinical trial coordinating services for biomedical research,” says Brian Gibson, IMS’s System Administrator. “We do things like statistical analysis on data from the National Cancer Institute with a high-performance cluster built just for this. We also manage a website for the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program. A lot of our data is very granular.”
With all this irreplaceable data, Gibson says he knows the key to good backup and DR is to be confident that you can always recover what you need when you need it. “In the past,” notes Gibson,“We backed up all of our systems using a file-based backup, onto a tape backup system. Tapes would break, and/or get stuck in the drive, or the data backed up would be unrecoverable for some other reason. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it made life hell.”
As Gibson states, he and his team were using a combination of Syncsort Backup Express and Symantec Backup Exec. “We used Backup Exec exclusively for our Windows backups, and you can tell the product was designed to be used in a tape environment, even if you didn’t back up to tape with it. We had a few cases when it would flat-out fail, and the error reports it generated were practically useless. One time, an Exchange server failed. It took about 10 hours to restore the data over the WAN, and once it was restored, it took another 10+ hours to run Eseutil utility on all of the databases to get them back to a state where we could mount them again. So there was a 20 to 24-hour time period when there was no E: or anything.”
Gibson notes that the amount of data his team had to synchronize was astronomical. They couldn’t do full a snap of a server and the backup process started to encroach into staff work hours, which meant that people couldn’t get things done. “It used to take me 58 hours or more to do a full backup on the weekend. And even then it would start encroaching on work time.”
Gibson knew that they could do better in terms of protecting the sensitive data related to IMS’s large, million-dollar, long-term contracts. “We were looking for a new way to back up our Exchange shortly after the above-mentioned failure. We looked at Syncsort's new offering, and Symantec, but I’ve never been really enamored with either since we haven’t had good luck in the past.”
Instead, Gibson turned to Replay to give him the confidence protecting IMS’s important data. “Replay’s ease of use and simplicity are spectacular. The best part for me though is all the consistency checks it does for the Exchange data; I can always tell that my Exchange server is in good health, and I have even done simple recoveries for single messages using the tools with Replay, and it is VERY easy, and fast.”
Moving into the future, Replay has helped IMS develop a robust retention policy, which allows the accurate safe-guarding of data within policy-defined time frames. “With Replay, we can keep as much data as we want,” laughs Gibson. “But because point-in-time recovery is such a breeze—even with 7 virtual hosts (3 in our primary location and 4 elsewhere)—we are able to specify exactly what we want and for how long we want to keep it.”
“Additionally, off-site requirements are assured with Replay,” says Gibson.” Initially, we took the Replay data, then copied it to tape, and mailed somewhere off-site. But now we’re so confident with Replay that we take Replay's server and set it up to replicate—just backing up locally and replicating somewhere else. We no longer use tape with anything having to do with Replay because Replay is doing real-time replication of snaps, as they happen.
“Replay is way ahead of anything else in terms of its capabilities.”
About Information Management Services
IMS—whose clients include the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention among others—provides an extensive array of IT services and clinical trial co-coordinating center services in support of biomedical research. IMS also designs and develops sophisticated software products.
About AppAssure Replay 4
Replay 4 is the world’s fastest and easiest backup and disaster recovery software for Windows application servers, VMware and Hyper-V Virtual Servers. The only complete “all-in-one” backup and recovery solution, Replay 4 enables local recoveries from any type of failure in just minutes, with the added assurance of offsite application and image backup and bare metal recovery from a total site disaster.
About AppAssure Software
AppAssure Software (appassure.com) is a leading provider of innovative backup and disaster recovery software for Windows application servers. AppAssure’s flagship product, Replay 4 is an application-aware, disk-based imaging solution that automatically and continuously snapshots entire Windows application servers delivering accelerated application backups and disaster recovery for in minutes.