By Dominic Silvia, Director of IT Services (originally posted via NetApp)
Since 1970, Blach Construction has built its reputation around creating buildings for a wide range of companies with a variety of industries including education, healthcare, and increasingly into high-end technical construction.
We provide our customers with reliable, high-quality technology while building state-of-the-art buildings. This is also something we expect for ourselves. While at job sites, builders and clients have the technology to view 3D realistic walk-throughs of digital buildings instead of imaging the end result based on a stack of blueprints.
While Blach is a 200-person company, our IT department is small. We are building and working on 30-40 job sites per week and it is crucial that we have the best technology available. We experience many of the typical IT challenges such as backing up ever-expanding volumes of data, planning for disaster recovery, and making decisions about where to host various services, but also many atypical challenges, such as the need to stand up IT at remote job sites extremely quickly and sometimes limited bandwidth or connectivity. We rely on solutions from NetApp to help make all of this possible.
As our company has grown, we needed to begin thinking about how to design cost-effective disaster recovery and backup strategies. We already migrated from tape backup to a disk-to-disk backup architecture and started using Veeam as our backup software, but the volume of data needed to be backed up was growing rapidly--some data sets, like email, are growing by 50% year over year, and we struggled to meet business requirements for RPO.
Backup storage became Blach’s first foray into the public cloud. To focus on the problem, we chose Amazon S3 as our cloud storage provider and a NetApp AltaVault (formerly SteelStore) cloud-integrated storage appliance, and kept Veeam in place. In choosing the appliance, we also looked at another product that was somewhat less expensive, but it didn’t do compression or deduplication. We knew we’d get more value over the long term with AltaVault.
The main benefit of replacing disk-to-disk backup with AltaVault and Amazon S3 is having nearly 20 hours returned to the business each month. That was the amount of time someone on the IT team spent monitoring the backup jobs, tweaking the devices, making sure that we had storage to accommodate our recovery point objectives, and managing any connectivity issues with the SANs.
With NetApp AltaVault, Veeam, and Amazon S3, we estimate that we now spend at most an hour or two on this work each month. The time saved is being used where the business needs it most—improving the IT infrastructure and supporting personnel at job sites.