In the first part of this two-part series, I took a look at why Energy XXI found disk too slow and unreliable when used in their backup process. This second and final installment takes a look at why it selected a hosted third party solution that used Asigra Televaulting as its backup and recovery solution.
Once Energy XXI’s IT Director Andrew Schaefer had determined that a traditional tape backup system was not going to fit the needs of Energy XXI long term, he began to explore the possibility of using a hosted third party backup and recovery solution. Driving this decision was a number of factors:
- Backups to disk using Excel XXI’s original backup software were more problematic than he anticipated
- Using a third party managed solution took a lot of the day to day backup management strain off the IT Department
- Data needed to be kept offsite to comply with SOX regulations
- The hosted solution allowed Energy XXI to implement a disk based backup solution which would scale quickly without the need for a large upfront capital investment
After evaluating a number of hosted third party providers, Schaefer selected a vendor that used Asigra’s Televaulting for its backup and recovery software. Schaefer considered a number of factors in coming to that decision, including if the solution offered multi-site expandability, data deduplication, common file elimination, local restore ability, and agent or agentless architectures. However as is so often the case in business, the decision came down to what it would cost.
Energy XXI performed a cost comparison between implementing a new upgraded tape system and going with the hosted Asigra solution. It found that the difference in cost for a new tape solution including time of management versus the Asigra Televaulting solution was minimal. However with all of the software features that Asigra provided plus the built-in offsite storage and the ease of management, Asigra Televaulting emerged as the best overall solution.
Energy XXI implemented the Asigra Televaulting solution in the last quarter of 2007 and has been up and running on it for all of 2008. During this relatively short period of time, Schaefer already had some specific experiences to share.
Backup success rates increased significantly from the beginning. Not only were backups successful, but after the initial data seeding process completed, backup windows were reduced from about 15 – 20 hours to only 2 – 6 hours.
The management of the backup solution by its service provider has impressed Energy XXI. Backup jobs are constantly monitored by the service provider, and in the rare event that there is a WAN outage or an issue with a backup job, the provider usually fixes the issue and contacts Energy XXI before it is even aware of a problem.
A big selling point to Schaefer was how quickly Energy XXI could recover in the event of a hardware failure on the Asigra Televaulting server or if some other disaster occurred. When using a tape drive, if the drive experiences a hardware failure, backups are usually impacted for at least a day until a new tape drive can be obtained and installed unless expensive spare tape drives were kept on hand.
Schaefer says, “We have already tested this feature after experiencing a hardware failure on the backup server. We were able to load the Asigra software on a spare server, restore the entire backup configuration from the remote site, and had the backup server back online hours before the next backup window was scheduled to start.”
In the event of a disaster, Energy XXI would not be left waiting for tapes to arrive from a remote storage facility. They could setup a new Televaulting server and begin streaming data from the remote data center immediately.
Energy XXI can more easily scale in a fast growing environment. Asigra Televaulting not only scales well for its growing backup demands, but also allows Energy XXI to add backup capability to remote offices by simply adding a backup agent and sending the data to the same managed data center. In the short time that Energy XXI has used Asigra Televaulting, the amount of data it backs up centrally has expanded nearly 10-fold because of data growth and the ease in which it can expand its capability to other network servers.