Rabu, 05 Desember 2012

How The Salvation Army Used D2D Appliances To Do Bare Metal Recovery

The Challenges

A water main break flooded the basement data center of the Salvation Army's Wisconsin and Upper Michigan division, compromising the organization's entire IT infrastructure including nearly 500 GBs of data. The division's five servers were unsalvageable and the structural integrity of the data center had been compromised, forcing operations to a contingency facility.

The Solution

Using a Unitrends off-site removable disk drive and working closely with IT solutions provider DigiCorp, the Salvation Army was able to fully recover their 500-gigabit disks, leveraging dissimilar BareMetal restore capabilities in the Unitrends Data Protection Unit (DPU) to restore to brand new servers. Within two days of the flood, employees had access to email and file servers in the temporary facility, and the rest of the datajust as important but not as critical in the first days after the disasterwas restored several days later.

Doing his regular patrol on a Saturday night, a Wisconsin state trooper walked around to the rear of the local Salvation Army building looking for anything out of the ordinary. He definitely found something strange. Thousands of gallons of water were pouring out from the basement windows of the building, cascading down the lawn to a drainage ditch in the back. Over the past four hours, a broken water main had flooded the entire basementthe site of the organization's IT data centerfrom the floor to windows more than six feet up, draining a local water tower in the process.

In all, two million gallons of water mixed with elevator fluid and other electronic chemicals, destroyed the organization's data center. Seven servers, multiple appliances and the entire network infrastructure were rendered useless. Even cables were unsalvageable.

Unitrends Speeds Recovery with BareMetal Restore

With IT solutions provider DigiCorp at its side, the Salvation Army immediately started recovering data from archive disks that were stored off-site, however, the last full backup was more than three weeks old. The most current incremental backup was still on a disk loaded into a Unitrends Data Protection Unit (DPU)the organization's disaster recovery solutionfloating on top of the wreckage in the data center. Thorne fished out the water-damaged disk and sent it to a disk salvage company that was able to save the data.

Once salvaged, the Unitrends backup data was restored on replacement servers using the DPU's BareMetal restore capabilities, automatically rebuilding the systems from the ground up. The operating system, applications, settings, drivers, settings and 500 GBs of data were restored on the serversregardless of the brand or model number of the replacement systemgiving Thorne the ability to leverage whatever hardware he could get his hands on and dramatically reducing the time it took to get the IT systems back up and running. Within two days, email was available for all employees and everyone had access to files on the corporate network.

Unfortunately, the organization's building was still condemned, the inspector declaring it a toxic zone due to the leaked elevator fluid. A temporary facility was still being set up, and employees had no where to work. Thorne used this time to start restoring the organization's financial application and SQL data information that is just as important as the other data but not as critical in the first few days after the disaster.

However, within 24 hours desks were ready and normal business operations continued in the contingency facility while the data center was being decontaminated. During that time, employees had reliable access to the applications and data they needed with minimal interruption. In two weeks when it was safe to return, Thorne was able to transport the servers back to the refurbished building, seamlessly redeploying the data center infrastructure and the Local Area Network (LAN) in a little more than a day.

Efficient Recoveries are Priceless

The efficiency and ease of restoring the damaged servers and data with the Unitrends DPU disaster recovery solution in conjunction with the work done by the disk salvage company made it possible for the Salvation Army to resume normal business operations soon after a major event completely wiped out its data center. Email and file data were available even before employees were able to get back to work, and critical financial data was recovered days later, ensuring that IT was not an inhibitor to business continuity. Most importantly, no data was lost, recovered up to the last incremental backup even though the disk was found floating in six feet of water. Without the ability to salvage the disk, all data created or edited over the past month would have been lost.

In the future, Thorne is considering enhancing the organization's disaster recovery strategy by implementing off-site vaulting instead of relying on an employee to manually take the disks off site. Unitrends Data Protection Vault (DPV) automatically replicates backup data over a Wide Area Network (WAN) each night to a secure off-site location, working in tandem with the DPU to ensure that backup data is protected from complete data center loss.

Key Benefits 100 percent of data was recovered Email service and file access were up and running two days after the flood in a temporary facility Mission-critical data from the organization's accounting software was recovered several days later Servers were redeployed easily when the data center was deemed hospitable again

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