NAKIVO Decreases VM Disaster Recovery Time from 4 Hours to 30 Minutes for Dartford Borough Council
The Borough of Dartford is comprised of the town of Dartford and eight surrounding parishes. The total population of the Borough is 103,900 residents and approximately 44,325 households. The Dartford Borough Council is responsible for local planning, infrastructure development, community safety, housing, transportation, council tax services, environment, recycling, community and life events, as well as leisure and culture. The council members work collectively to foster the future development of the region for its residents.
The IT infrastructure of Dartford Borough Council is based on VMware and consists of five sites. "With virtualization, we have reduced our infrastructure from 35 physical servers to 5 ESXi servers. We have about 50 VMs, but we also run VMware View, which is about another 50 VMs, so in total we have 100 VMware VMs," says David Munday, Network System Controller at Dartford Borough Council. "We run standard council applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL, and Sharepoint, as well as have document management and printing," says David.
Recently, Dartford Borough Council built a disaster recovery site, so that in case of a disaster, all VM backups could be easily recovered in the secondary location. Seamless and fast VM disaster recovery is of utmost importance because employees, residents, and business owners must have constant access to the council's information. Previously, everything was tied to a legacy backup solution. Its long recovery times, as well as expensive and clumsy approach to recovery put the council at the risk of downtime.
"The previous solution was difficult to use, involved understanding of the software, and use of the software's proprietary snapshots. We used to do product to product snapshots, but that was very expensive and recovery was quite clumsy. The process involved a lot of steps to remember. In addition, we had to create all the VMs manually and make them bootable. Moreover, file recovery took a number of hours, or we sometimes had to retrieve the tapes from the offsite storage to recover a file," says David. In order to improve the disaster recovery process, Dartford Borough Council required a reliable and affordable replacement.
"We performed an extensive online research, compared the leading competitive products on the market, and in the end decided to choose NAKIVO Backup & Replication," says David. Originally, Dartford Borough Council selected NAKIVO Backup & Replication for VM backup, but testing VM disaster recovery was a complete revelation. "VM backup works extremely well, but testing a disaster recovery process has been a total surprise. VM backup is good, but VM disaster recovery is fantastic," says David.
"The product is intuitive – we did not even have to read the manuals. The interface is clear and tells me everything I need to know. Each version of NAKIVO Backup & Replication gets better each time. It is nice to see that product is evolving and does everything to fit my needs," says David.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication provides near-instant disaster recovery with VM replication. "We use NAKIVO Backup & Replication to replicate all data from one SAN on the main site onto a second SAN on the secondary site. The process of moving from the previous tool went smoothly. We tested disaster recovery and the whole process took roughly half an hour," says David. Forever incremental jobs, VMware CBT, network acceleration, and Direct SAN Access not only help protect VMs, but significantly reduce recovery times.
With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, we can have multiple snapshots within the day, while previously, we were tied to one snapshot over night. Now, we can make multiple VM replications during the working day, at the beginning, and the end of the month, and this has greatly improved our recovery time. We also noticed, that the time it takes to make massive snapshots is only 10% of the time it would have taken us with the previous tool," says David. NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows Dartford Borough Council not only to improve recovery time, but also perform necessary DR testing. "With the past solution, if we wanted to perform DR tests, we had to break the replication process, and only then run tests. Afterwards, it would have been necessary to re-run all the VM backups again from scratch. So, we needed either to sacrifice DR testing, or take backup offline for a couple of weeks. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, we can test whenever we want to," says David.
Before NAKIVO Backup & Replication implementation, Dartford Borough Council's disaster recovery was a long and laborious process. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, disaster recovery testing is possible at any time. "NAKIVO Backup & Replication solved all our problems that we have started with and solved other problems that we did not know about. The product saved a countless amount of time and money. The product made us platform independent. We are no longer tied to any SAN provider. NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows us to have DR, but also allows us to perform DR testing whenever we choose," says David.
With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, Dartford Borough Council achieved near-instant disaster recovery. "The previous tool was messy and involved a level of technical knowledge. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, recovery time has gone from half a day to half an hour," says David.
Located at the border of Kent, London and Essex, Dartford is one of the most exciting regions in England. Dartford Borough Council’s aim is to create 20,000 new homes and up to 50,000 new jobs in the next 25 years, a substantial addition to the existing 100,000 residents in the Borough. The council is responsible for housing, local planning, community safety, transport, environment, leisure, and culture. The council's vision is to make Dartford the place of choice for living, working, and enjoying leisure time, as well as foster commitment in improving facilities and creating opportunities for existing residents. The Dartford Borough Council accomplishes its vision through infrastructure development that makes a difference for the lives of its residents. The history has constantly seen Dartford as a magnet for innovation, invention, and inspiration, and what makes Dartford different is its sense of dynamic action. For more information, visit www.dartford.gov.uk.