Case Study: Gateway Funding

Gateway Funding Trades Tape for Fast EVault Backups and Restores

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Virtualization Requires Faster, More Streamlined Data Protection

Gateway’s back-office IT operations help keep things running smoothly for the company’s customers and employees. Yet when faced with application growth, heavy-duty server use and the need to keep IT operations as lean as possible, the Gateway IT team realized the time had come to virtualize the company’s servers with VMware. Protecting that virtualized infrastructure became a top priority.

As Gateway’s network engineers began the move to virtualization with more powerful 64-bit servers, the company’s slower tape backup infrastructure came into question. The company had been using Symantec (formerly Veritas) Backup Exec with Quantum (formerly ADIC) Scalar tape libraries. Director of Information Technology, Dan Catinella, and Network Engineer Paul Famularo realized the organization needed to start looking for a better solution to protect their now faster, growing environment. Said Famularo, “After virtualization, we realized our tape backup solution no longer satisfied what we wanted and where we wanted to go.”

Tape Falls Short for HQ and Remote Offices

Gateway faced many of the same data-protection issues that often plague growing application environments that use legacy tape backup infrastructures. These included nightly backups that took far too long to complete, ongoing administrative headaches and recovery times that required hours of advance notice to ship the backup tape from offsite storage before any recovery process could even begin.

There were also ongoing time and cost issues involved in troubleshooting remote office backup procedures. “On average, we probably spent about 10 hours per week just making sure the remote offices logged the tapes, or handling situations where there may have been a problem or some type of server failure and we needed to remote into a server,” said Famularo. The lean two-person IT team was wearing thin.

Partnership with Contour Data Solutions Delivers the Right Solution

Catinella and Famularo readily turned for help to Contour Data Solutions, a premier provider of strategic IT and data management solutions. Gateway’s experience with Contour on other IT projects had earned their trust in Contour’s advice. “There hasn’t been a time they were wrong and couldn’t provide an answer,” said Catinella. “That earned my respect.”

Contour suggested they take a closer look at EVault, A Seagate Company, and the company’s EVault technology for data protection. Initially skeptical of the upfront investment required, the Gateway team was soon won over by EVault’s affordability, and by an evaluation of the EVault® Plug-n-Protect all-in-one backup and recovery appliance. “I was initially concerned with how much a backup solution might cost,” said Famularo. “But, after seeing the time saved and the benefits and savings at the remote offices as well, I decided this was a no-brainer.”

Gateway ultimately deployed two EVault Plug-n-Protect appliances, with one active vault at the corporate office in Horsham, PA and a second, passive vault at Gateway’s disaster recovery site in Reading, PA. EVault protects the data on 60 virtual machines that run on a handful of physical servers. To ensure data availability, EVault Replication automatically replicates active vault data to the off site, secondary vault. The passive vault can then assume backup and restore functionality should the active vault fail.

EVault Solution Pays for Itself

Long before implementation, EVault stood out as significantly more affordable than competing solutions. “We considered CA ARCserve and CommVault along with EVault’s EVault. After checking the price at CommVault and all the other things we’d need, the expense was like a Fortune 500 solution. We didn’t have a million dollars to spend!” Catinella said. “ARCserve was more of the same. We would still need to write to tape. Then, if we wanted to replicate offsite, it drastically increased the cost. For remote backups, we also still needed additional storage. ARCserve didn’t compare with what EVault does out of the box with just three agents. . . By the time you calculate it over a 2–3 year timeframe, the amount you put into EVault has already paid for itself.”

EVault support, where needed, has also been a significant improvement over what Gateway experienced with its prior Symantec/Veritas backup solution. “I’ve experienced support with Symantec and EVault. EVault is definitely better,” Catinella said.

The Gateway IT team can’t speak highly enough about the time it’s saved with EVault on backup, recovery and overall backup job management—both locally and at Gateway’s remote offices. There’s the 10 hours per week they no longer spend on troubleshooting and remote job oversight. Then there’s the 50+ percent speed improvement on nightly backup jobs—in some cases, going from multiple hours down to just 20 minutes.

There’s also the estimated 2TB of open disk space saved on backup data stored in the vault itself, thanks to EVault compression and space-saving technologies like sourceside and back-end deduplication. Weekly data recovery tests are also now completed in short order—without needing to involve tape orders and deliveries from offsite storage. Famularo concluded, “With EVault, you just go in, start the EVault restore process and you’re done. It’s not complex at all. You can copy the jobs and scheduling is a breeze.”