First Technology Turns to Dell for Both Better Backups and a Better Data Center

As organizations transform their IT infrastructures to introduce scale-out solutions in support of their virtualization initiatives, many also find that their traditional means of doing backup break. First Technology was no different. However as a service provider whose clients expected backups to work every day all of the time, it did not have the luxury of watching its traditional means of backup first break and then spending time looking for, testing and implementing a new solution. Better backup had to be part of its data center transformation Day 1.

Shortening backup windows and completing backups successfully were obvious objectives that any new backup solution that First Technology selected had to satisfy. However a new constraint it faced was retaining client backups for long periods of time. Glass says, “It was becoming very difficult and costly for us to maintain and keep client backups.

To solve these challenges, First Technology again turned to Dell. First, to shorten backup windows and successfully complete backups, it took advantage of the snapshot functionality on the EqualLogic arrays and their integration with VMware. Since the applica­tions residing on the EqualLogic array were virtualized, First Technology used its Veeam backup software to initiate and then manage snapshots of these applica­tions on the EqualLogic arrays using the VMware APIs for Array Integration (VAAI).

While the snapshots were great for fast, successful backups, keeping them on the EqualLogic arrays was not ideal as a long term, cost effective retention strat­egy. Once the snapshot was complete, the Veeam backup software copied the snapshots to the Dell DR4000 deduplicating backup appliance. Glass observes, “Using EqualLogic’s snapshots as the source, backups complete about 10x faster than tradi­tional backup methods. Further, using the DR4000 as a target, we get 90 percent data reduction.

Dell Owns the Data Center– and First Technology Could Not Be Happier

First Technology could not be more pleased with having selected Dell as its preferred partner to provide its hardware and software and then support it into the future. It has already saved a tremendous amount of time in managing its data center while also reducing its complexity.

Using Dell as its preferred partner for hardware, soft­ware, services and support, First Technology has expe­rienced a fundamental change in how its back end IT processes are managed and supported. Glass remarks, “Dell can troubleshoot the entire stack–from servers to switches to storage to backup–so no finger pointing between vendors. Dell owns the problem.

Since it has implemented Dell servers, storage, networking and backup, First Technology has seen an increase in the performance of it infrastructure, a reduction in its costs and less time spent deploying new solutions. This has freed First Technology to focus on doing what it really wants to do: delivering new technologies and services to its clients that will in turn result in it accelerating its growth going forward.

In part 1 of this two-part blog series, First Technology shares how Dell provided the technology resources to help it transform its data center from a stand alone, scale-down to a scale-out technology partnership.

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