Simplified data management
Monitoring and managing data were previously tedious and time-consuming tasks with Averda’s legacy backup technology.
Angus said: “Our company does not have a big IT department. We are very lean and mean and have to be magicians on a daily basis, working smarter than the average company.
“We have a very tight technology budget so a huge driver was to centralise our backups in the cloud in such a way that we could minimise complexity.“We just wanted to say, ‘this is our dashboard, this is where we drag and drop all of our data & set it up to back up to, end-of-story!’
Redstor's web-based control centre provides Angus with a centralised view of Averda’s data, wherever he is.
He now has borderless visibility of the company’s complex data estate at any time, on any device.
Redstor is designed to have minimal or no human intervention throughout its daily management. Cloud backups run to an automated schedule, allowing Angus to back up data as little or as often as he likes, at the click of a button. No human error, no risk.
Angus said: “The Redstor Graphical User Interface is really user friendly. We can clearly see how much data is on each server, do snapshots, back up specific files and it’s really quick to do a restore. It’s so easy to navigate and that makes managing our backed-up data really easy.”
Time saved on backups
Averda was previously reliant on dated, unencrypted technology, such as tape (prone to failure), and manual processes (prone to error or omission) to ensure backups take place.
Angus said: “In the past backups were so slow we would sometimes run into production time the next morning. The solutions we were using were a bit of a mix and match of external drives and server hard drives. That was a big problem and we lost track sometimes of all the notifications.
“Scheduling everything to start at the same time didn’t always work out, especially when we had load shedding and were without power, as can happen in this part of the world. We unfortunately do not have full backup generators at all our sites.
“Since we moved across to Redstor, the connection speeds have been really fast, especially considering we are at the bottom of the African continent where connectivity is not the best.”
Redstor’s intelligent technology encrypts data at source, deduplicates and compresses it. Not only does this greatly reduce the size of each file transmitted, making it bandwidth efficient, but only changed data is transmitted and stored – radically reducing costs.
Angus said: “Backups now take less than four hours a night - it’s been a dramatic improvement. It is a bit of a mix and match across the country what we are backing up, but the experience has been good regardless. There have been no pain points. I can’t remember the last time one of our techies reported any issue.”
Each backup session is recorded, and daily reports are emailed automatically. If a backup is missed, or failed, Angus’s team receives an email to let them know.
He said: “I can’t recall a time when a backup has failed on us and that’s basically what you’re after.”
“You want to be able to trust your backups and know that when the time comes to restore a folder or a server - whether it’s a complete image of a server or a flat file structure - it is going to work first time and it’s going to be quick.”
“We will also be exploring archiving through Redstor because under governance we are expected to preserve certain data for up to five years.”
What is your biggest challenge around backup and recovery?
- The threat of security incidents and how quickly you can recover
- Time spent on administrative tasks
- Cost of backup technology
- Limitations of legacy backup technology
- Gaining visibility of all data
Eliminating downtime with quick recoveries
Redstor’s unique streaming technology gives Averda staff access to what they need when they need it, recovering massive systems seemingly in moments.
Angus said: “Previously when we had an offsite service via Backup Exec, we would actually send a driver with an external drive to fetch data because it would take too long to recover across the WAN links. We find we don’t do that these days. We just do everything virtually now.
“A server restoration from a crash might easily have taken up to two-and-a-half days so there’s been a massive saving there.
“If a server had gone down for a day when 20 administrators were capturing data that we use for billing, we might end up paying overtime because people have to come in over weekends.
“It’s very different now with Redstor. We had a server outage last year and managed to rebuild the server, virtualise it and restore everything fast enough to avoid any staff downtime.
“Following our transition with SEACOM, OneDrive has become the primary method for individual backups.
“Users literally put their work in OneDrive and if their hard drive crashes we stick another hard drive in and download everything from the Redstor backup.
“We do recoveries from servers about twice a month - flat files for the odd user here and there. We also still have the odd user who stores critical data on their hard drive rather than using OneDrive.”
Having a flexible data management solution that Averda can tailor to the business has helped in many ways.
Angus added: “We were unable to migrate a number of older operating systems because they can’t work on newer versions of SQL Server, but we fired up a few virtual machines on lower operating systems like Server 2012 and do everything via the Redstor cloud.”
Angus added: “I particularly like that we can choose between four options - permanent file recovery, temporary file recovery, full system recovery or bare metal. That is a feature not generally available through other products.
“Temporary file access is great because we don’t need any additional hard drive space. A copy of the data is on a temporary virtual drive.”
Averda have found Redstor’s subscription-based pricing model to be simple, cost effective and predictable.
By only paying for what data Averda select to protect, Angus knows he can scale up or down as demand changes without worrying about any hidden costs or surprises that might blow his budget.
He said: “Billing purely on data volume is a great thing for us because it allows us to put the Redstor client on all our systems.
“We buy a pool of virtual resources from our data centre partner then when we decide something new needs backing up, we just put Redstor on those new servers.
“We roll it out, knowing the cost does not go up for more devices, we just have to keep an eye on our total data.
“That means we know exactly what we will pay every month. If we need to go over our agreed data limit, we have the option to pay for a little additional storage. So, in the case of an emergency, it’s all very straightforward
What is your most important consideration when choosing an archiving solution?
- Freeing up capacity and sweating existing assets
- Avoiding archiving on unreliable tape
- Minimising management overheads
- Eliminating delays in accessing archived data
In the event of a ransomware attack, Averda now has the reassurance of being able to recover all data and systems to a state before infection.
This has not always been the case.
Angus revealed: “When Averda bought out a company called Sharpmed, one of the servers that we had semi-archived was the Pastel Accounting database and it got hit by ransomware before we had moved it across to the Redstor cloud.
“That was a lesson we learned very quickly. It was a kick start for us to get all our core systems into the Redstor cloud as soon as possible.”
With Redstor, backups are isolated from Averda’s live environment so they can't be targeted by cybercriminals.
Averda’s data is also encrypted before it leaves any devices - and it remains encrypted at all times, in transit and in storage.
Angus concluded: “Redstor is extremely easy to use. It is intuitive and absolutely reliable, which is critical for us. It’s very straight forward. You don’t have to be an IT guru to drive it. I would give Redstor a nine out of ten and I am a hard person to please. I never give anyone a ten!”