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Financial planners cut data loss possibility from two days to 20 minutes

  • 27 March, 2009 09:51

<p>When Brisbane-based consulting accountants and financial planners Snelleman Tom implemented a new continuous data protection (CDP) system, their previous one-to-two-day data recovery points were advanced to just 20 minutes.</p>
<p>This means they would lose up to 20 minutes’ worth of data in the event of a system failure, rather than as much as two days’ work.</p>
<p>Since the compliance, consulting and wealth creation services that Snelleman Tom offers are often crucial to their clients, they needed to make sure their computer systems and data protection were fully in order. Hence CDP and disaster recovery were key elements in a major systems upgrade. The result is top-line data protection using Tandberg Data technology.</p>
<p>The firm’s information is generated by applications including the practice management system, Accountants Office; Businessfitness’ HowNow for document and records management; and VisiPlan for financial planning. BGL software looks after superannuation fund compliance and corporate affairs. The firm also runs MS Office, Exchange, SQL Server, and also a Linux platform for doing various odd jobs like network management.</p>
<p>When planning the systems upgrade, IT Manager Bruce Shoobridge calculated that an effective CDP solution would deliver a clear-cut return on investment (ROI) the first time the company experienced a significant systems failure.</p>
<p>He called in Computer One, on whom Snelleman Tom relies for all its significant computer needs. Computer One, backed by distributor Datastor, recommended a Tandberg Data solution.</p>
<p>The existing system had begun to creak under the load caused by the firm’s steady expansion. Over the years, partners and staff numbers had multiplied from two to 40. For many years, the firm worked with tape backups while relying on redundant hard disks for data integrity. Snelleman Tom’s single Citrix server and two physical servers also needed replacing.</p>
<p>Eventually, tape backups were taking so long that IT staff had to run backups over two tapes: one tape for half of the staff and a second for the remaining staff. It meant that recovery points were up to two days old. This situation was rectified by a Tandberg Data CDP solution comprising a Tandberg Viking FS-412 NAS (network-attached storage) device plus a Tandberg StorageLoader LTO-3, backed by Falconstor CDP and disaster recovery (DR) software.</p>
<p>“If you have 10 people and lose a day’s work, it’s frustrating and annoying but not disastrous. But with 40 people, there is a great deal of time and money involved, and we were not adequately protected,” said Bruce Shoobridge. “The new CDP solution is performing well, enabling us to achieve our CDP targets without any issues.”</p>
<p>He added: “Before we implemented CDP, our recovery point was one to two days. Now it is 20 minutes. We take snapshots of all the data on our servers every 20 minutes during working hours. This is stored on the Viking FS-412 NAS device. At any time, we can roll back the system at 20-minute intervals for a day and a half.”</p>
<p>In future, Snelleman Tom will assess technology for recovering running processes and backing up virtual machines, but for the present Bruce says the Tandberg Data solution is a significant leap forward compared to the previous setup.</p>
<p>“The new autoloader handles our daily tape backup with ease; we perform a differential backup every day and a full backup weekly. The tapes are taken offsite,” said Bruce. “We are able to back up at any point in the day because the StorageLoader can pull data straight from the FalconStor server, with no load on our production servers.”</p>
<p>Discussing return on investment (ROI), he says: “Essentially the great benefit is lower risk – the Tandberg Data technology will pay for itself the first time we have a systems glitch. Ultimately, having a maximum of only four hours downtime will pay for the entire system.”</p>
<p>According to Bruce, future-proofing is another big plus. Overall, the firm holds 6TB of data, plus a systems overhead of about 300GB. He expects to need an incremental upgrade in three years’ time and a major overhaul in six years.</p>
<p>At present Snelleman Tom backs up data to multiple tapes, including one tape for a full backup. As the business grows, additional tapes may be added to the StorageLoader, giving extra capacity in multiples of 400GB, and ultimately the firm will be able to replace its LTO-3 media with LTO-4 for additional capacity.</p>
<p>Snelleman Tom Consulting Accountants and Financial Planners provide a complete approach to wealth creation for their clients, which is achieved through close integration of services including accounting, financial planning, and risk management. The experienced Snelleman Tom team is able to help clients define and achieve their wealth creation objectives, while also ensuring that there is enough protection along the way. The business is based in Taringa, Queensland, but services clients Australia-wide.</p>
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<p>For more information</p>
<p>Mr Lim Cheng Chuan, Country Manager (Australia &amp; New Zealand)
Mobile: +61(0)-404 135 813
<p>Huang Yanyi, Tandberg Data (Asia) Pte Ltd
+65-6396 0786 or mobile +65-9232 9966.</p>

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