I think peace of mind and confidence are the greatest benefits, and the price is minimal for that advantage.”
- Jeff Boatright, Executive Vice President, Immigration Support Services
Tape Backup Slow & Inconvenient
“Our business generates a lot of data, so it’s vital that we have good, accurate, timely backups at all times,” said Jeff Boatright, Executive Vice President and Co-Owner of Immigration Support Services. “We had a tape backup system and a series of daily, weekly and monthly backup tapes. We would take them offsite and rotate them. And as we grew and the amount of data grew, it became increasingly cumbersome to have to do that. It was slow and inconvenient. Even the occasional need to recover a file wasn’t the easiest thing to do.”
Immigration Support Services, based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, is a private company that processes visa petitions on behalf of employers around the nation that would like to hire someone from overseas. “We help them prepare the paperwork and submit it to the government, not unlike an accountant might prepare a tax return for a company and submit it to the IRS. It’s an HR outsource service,” said Boatright.
Day-to-day management of the tape backup system became a burden for Immigration Support Services. Since the company did not have its own IT department, one of the employees had to assume the role of part-time backup administrator. Continually swapping out tapes and transporting them offsite was time-consuming and a hassle. The company wanted a better way to back up its database and file systems – a system that was easy to manage, backed up data consistently and provided fast recovery.
From Tape to Barracuda Backup Service
In February 2006, the company decided to replace its tape backup system with the Barracuda Backup Service (known at the time as Bitleap) from Barracuda Networks. This service provides full local backup to disk and replicates data to two geographically remote sites for disaster recovery. At the customer’s site a small backup server sits on the network. The server initiates backups automatically based on a user-defined schedule and de-duplicates data inline to reduce storage requirements by as much as 20 to 50 times. During off-hours it encrypts and transmits data to the remote sites.
Pricing is based on total storage consumed. “Barracuda Networks has brackets of subscription rates that are based on total storage needs, and then it’s billed monthly,” said Boatright. “They send warnings when you bump against the ceiling of your plan. But they’re very helpful in reviewing your backup settings to make sure you’re not backing up and retaining more data than necessary.”
Transitioning from tape to the Barracuda Backup Service was a straightforward process. “It was like going from horse and buggy to automobile. It’s not too hard. When you instantly get to go 60 miles an hour, the little bit of effort it takes to learn to drive the car is nothing compared to the benefit of having learned,” he said.
Peace of Mind and Confidence
After their struggles with tape backup, Boatright feels relieved to have a reliable third-party service take care of backup and recovery. “Having the backup effectively done for us, having an Internet interface, being able to read the backups and retrieve files as necessary – the whole convenience of it was night and day,” he said.
“We’re not a technology company, we’re technology users. The company is relatively small. At our largest we have been only about 20 employees, but we generate a lot of work and data. Being able to unload backup on a purchased service was tremendous. Not only was it convenient, but it instilled confidence in our ability to have good backups. That just means it is something you don’t have to think about during the day.”
“Occasionally someone will delete a file by mistake. We haven’t had a catastrophic failure, thankfully. But someone might come in and say, ‘Oops, I can’t find this file – I deleted it.’ We can retrieve it in a couple of minutes and put it back on the server where it’s supposed to be. It really is very simple.”
Boatright considers the fee for the Barracuda Backup Service to be less than the cost of labor for managing the old tape backup system. He continued, “We can run the company and have confidence our information is stored well and retrievable. I think peace of mind and confidence are the greatest benefits, and the price is minimal for that advantage.”
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