Transnet Capital Projects, the project management arm of freight logistics giant Transnet, is tasked with overseeing a variety of projects on behalf of Transnet’s various divisions. As such, their data is a critical business asset, and needs to be backed up continuously to ensure business continuity. When the company’s tape-based, manual backup solution became too time-intensive and unreliable, they turned to Altonet, local providers of the HP Autonomy range of backup and data protection services, and the HP Autonomy LiveVault solution, to address their challenges.
“Over the years our data has grown to such an extent that with a tape-based system, we often required two tapes for a single backup. This meant that someone had to manually insert the second tape, which is time-consuming and lends itself to human error. The backups were also taking on average three days to run, which meant that critical data was not being backed up during this time. The tapes themselves also occasionally did not complete the backup properly. This meant that data could not be restored if there was an issue, and recovery time was at least 24-hours if data was lost,” explains Thabo Nkopane, ICT Project Manager at Transnet.
“We needed a solution that would enable us to run fast, continuous backups to ensure no missing information and also to recover information completely and quickly in the event of data issues, minimising risk. We selected Altonet based on their sound reputation and proven track record, and the HP Autonomy LiveVault solution, as it delivered everything we needed to address our data challenges,” he adds.
Transnet Capital Projects required an automated, offsite backup solution in order to comply with best-practice data backup and recovery guidelines. After conducting a mini-Proof of Concept (PoC) to demonstrate the capabilities of HP Autonomy LiveVault, Altonet rolled the solution out to Transnet Capital Projects’ head office in Johannesburg, as well as remote sites in Durban, Richards Bay and Cape Town. Each of these sites feature a TurboRestore Appliance for fast data restore over a local area network (LAN). Data is backed up to vaults in a primary and secondary location on their private cloud, ensuring compliance and enabling Transnet Capital Projects peace of mind that their data is always backed up and available.
“LiveVault delivers easy to use, automatic, continuous, secure and reliable server data protection, with embedded de-duplication for optimised storage and fast and easy data restore. The solution also provides Transnet Capital Projects with proactive administration, central monitoring of all offices, and alerts and notifications of any data incidents, enabling them to address these quickly before they become problems. Using LiveVault’s unique DeltaRestore capability, Transnet Capital Projects also has the ability to restore only the data that has been changed or corrupted, minimising time to restore,” says Gareth Tudor, CEO of Altonet.
The solution delivers all of the benefits of cloud data protection, as well as long-term offsite retention, essential for compliance purposes. Continuous backup also enables point-in-time recovery where data can be restored to its state at a past date. This is beneficial as data can be recovered and restored prior to corruption, restoring the data in full. Data is secured and protected, stored in mirrored data centres with best-of-breed security certifications including (U.S. Department of Defence’s Standard for Records Management) DoD5015.02, (Service Auditors Report) SAS 70 Type II and Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS).
“Our backups are now running daily, instead of every three days, and critical data can be backed up every 15 minutes. The burden of complex, daily manual backups and changing tapes has been removed, freeing up resources for more business-critical tasks. We are now also able to proactively resolve any problems, and because the restore capability is web-based, we can do this from anywhere, without having to courier tapes to various locations. Altonet also provides second level support and monitoring to ensure that any issues with our backups are resolved speedily. The entire solution is far more effective and efficient, and fits our needs perfectly,” Nkopane concludes.
The project was completed at the end of June 2013, on time and on budget, and has been running smoothly since it went live.