Business Challenges

Our client, a leading freight forwarder, needed a new disaster recovery solution to replace their current one which was based on old and ageing SonicWALL CDP technology. The primary issue is the restore time required for the current process. There was no standby hardware or licensing in place, in the event of a disaster, all hardware and licensing would need to be ordered, and configured before finally the backups could be resorted. This would mean days, possibly weeks of down time which simply was not acceptable.

We needed to design a new solution that would allow our client to be up and running within hours of a disaster. In order to do this we would need to take the following actions:
• Set up an offsite DR solution location.
• Provide standby hardware for DR failover.
• Obtain licenses for DR standby hardware.
• Select appropriate technology to backup or replicate data.

The Solution

The client’s Head Office is based in Heathrow Airport. After reviewing costs of rack space and datacentre storage it was decided that their High Wycombe office was the best solution for an offsite location. This office was also in an area with FTTC availability which was a cheaper alternative to using a lease line.
The best and most cost effective option for providing new hardware for the offsite DR location would be to replace the server hardware at the Head Office and use the existing servers for the offsite DR location. We used a Dell VRTX system as a scalable hardware base for the Heathrow Head Office allowing us to use their existing Dell PowerEdge T610 for the offsite location.
We used Windows 2012 as the operating system on the new Dell VRTX. Using the built-in Hyper-V technology and utilising the Hyper-V replica feature of the Windows 2012 server we had the base for our new DR solution. Using Open License software and software assurance we were covered for licensing the host windows 2012 server and replica Hyper-V servers on the offsite DR hardware as Cold Server Backups.
We started by migrating their Head Office servers. A mixture of 2003 and 2008 virtual servers running on two Dell PowerEdge T610 to a single Dell VTRX running windows 2012 Hyper-V with OPL software assured licensing.

The old Dell PowerEdge T610s were formatted and reloaded with Windows 2012 servers covered by the software assurance. We then set up replication over the LAN and monitored the data usage over a two-week period. As a result we made changes to the system to optimise the setup and exclude non-critical data from the replication sets.

The current 10MB lease line was upgraded to a 100MB line to allow for the additional bandwidth we would require for replication to the offsite location. We calculated the throughput requirements and configured the WatchGuard firewall traffic management features to make sure that the replication had enough bandwidth. Replication was set to five minute cycles during office hours to ensure the day to day use of the internet was not interrupted. We then setup monitoring using our remote management platform and continue to support this client.

Goal Achieved:

Our client now have a full DR solution that is compliant with their insurer’s requirements, which allows them to be back up and running within 5 mins of any major incident at their Heathrow Head Office.

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