Case Study: Fitzpatrick

Solutions: Backup & Recovery, Disaster Recovery and Remote Site Protection
Leading UK Construction firm turns to S3 for ‘Clean’ online backup and recovery solution.

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Leading U.K. Construction firm turns to S3 and Evault for Clean online backup and recovery solution

As a leading civil engineering and construction firm, Fitzpatrick can have as many as 40 different job sites where roads, bridges, airports, and other structures are being built throughout the U.K. This distributed workforce is also reflected in its information technology (IT) infrastructure.

As part of this infrastructure, Fitzpatrick’s 12-person IT staff manages 15 Windows 2000 servers located at its main Hoddesdon, U.K. office, and 10-15 additional servers distributed across six regional offices and 40 or so job sites. To back up its servers, Fitzpatrick used Computer Associates ARCserve software. However, having a comprehensive and centralized backup management capability including the ability to recover data quickly was difficult, if not impossible, using traditional tape-based processes.

…the Fitzpatrick IT staff is seeing a significant return on investment in terms of peace of mind. Data is consistently getting backed up and securely getting off the job site to a data facility.

In these remote situations, we could never really effectively manage backup and recovery because we don’t have the IT people there to add and remove the tapes and get them off-site, recalled Kevin Wyley, Fitzpatrick’s WAN manager.

Fitzpatrick did not have IT staff on construction sites to swap tapes in and out, yet the data being generated carried significant importance and needed to be backed up. In addition, because of the transitory nature of construction sites, the portable buildings were only linked by DSL connections at best. The company turned to Solid State Solutions (S3), to help solve these issues. Taking a vendor agnostic-approach, S3 engineers working with Fitzpatrick determined that disk-to-disk backup could lessen the amount of data moving over the network, and would alleviate the issues the firm had experienced and provide a more reliable and ‘cleaner’ solution.

“As you can imagine, construction sites are not the cleanest environment and tapes get dirty and do not work,” says Wyley. “However, our primary need was to be able to conduct the backups over existing links we had. With the amount of data being backed up and sent over the network, our previous solution took too long and we had a difficult time verifying the completion remotely.”

“Encryption was a key capability for us because having tape devices and media at these remote sites was not the most secure solution for us and it’s just not ever going to be feasible to have an IT Presence at those locations”.

As a true, disk-to-disk backup solution, S3 engineers recognized that EVault InfoStage software would answer Fitzpatrick’s top concern of getting data over their network without having to add more infrastructure, incur more costs and create additional management responsibilities. Once backup agents are installed on the servers, EVault DeltaPro technology scans for and then backs up only new and altered files since the previous backup. This component of EVault InfoStage software takes those changes, compresses and then encrypts the data before sending over the network to a storage device. Because it’s only taking new and altered files and compressing the information, often less than five percent of the total data will be sent over the network each day. This automated process proved beneficial in several ways:

  • Ensured that the network bandwidth would not be taxed by conducting backups.
  • Because the backed up data went straight from the server to the electronic storage device, no longer did IT staff have to commute out to job sites to conduct manual tasks such as labeling and rotating tapes or deal with administering to tape libraries.
  • Full backups do not need to be conducted each week as with incremental-style backup performed by tape-based software. In addition to eliminating any potential networkbandwidth issue, less data is actually sent to the storage device, creating less data to manage.

Having knocked out the bandwidth concerns using EVault technology, S3 was also able to improve the reliability and security of Fitzpatrick’s backup process. Tapes, with information critical to the business, no longer sat subjected to environmental conditions at a job site. Having the data encrypted while transferred over the network and while being stored back in Hoddesdon provided much-improved security.

“That was a key capability for us because having tape devices and media at these remote sites was not the most secure solution for us and it’s just not ever going to be feasible to have an IT presence at those locations,” Wyley acknowledged.

Following an installation and integration described by Wyley as ‘pretty smooth,’ the Fitzpatrick IT staff is seeing a significant return on investment in terms of peace of mind. Data is consistently getting backed up and securely getting off the job site to a data facility. In addition, file-level restores have been equally smooth. Gone is the money being spent on tape libraries and media.

Fitzpatrick

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