When one of Datalink‘s leading clients asked that we help them re-architect and move their IT disaster recovery (DR) site to a more resilient and state-of-the-art data center facility, we jumped at the chance to make it happen. Our client is a nonprofit medical association that supports more than 125,000 members with timely news, information and resources. Their current DR infrastructure was located too close to their primary data center (within 20 miles) and lacked the up-to-date IT equipment and capacity needed to handle a full failure caused by either system or environmental hazards.
We recommended that they build a DR solution on Equinix’s global colocation and interconnection data center platform in Silicon Valley. This would immediately provide the distance they needed from their corporate headquarters, as well as a mature, reliable and resilient data center and interconnection platform, with accessibility to the greatest number of the association’s technology providers.
Vendor neutrality was critical to our client since they had partnered with a number of vendors already in the Equinix facility: Veritas for its backup software platform and NetApp® for Private Storage for the Cloud and FlexPod® Converged Infrastructure, built in conjunction with a Cisco network infrastructure. They were also standardizing on a multicloud environment to deliver Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure/Office 365 cloud platforms. To support their long-term goals, the association was also looking to utilize virtualization and cloud technologies with higher-performing system and storage solutions.
One week to beat the next data synch point!
To make this multivendor, multicloud IT transformation more exciting, we had only a one-week window prior to the next data synchronization point to move and re-architect the entire DR (storage and backup and recovery applications) environment, in addition to setting up the communications (network security, firewalls, optimization, cloud interconnections, etc.) infrastructure, and get it all operational. Longer-term, the association wanted to leverage the DR site to share the increasing development, test and production processing workloads of their primary data center.
We met the production-ready goal prior to the association’s next data synch point. As a result of the new infrastructure, they reduced risk, while increasing compute performance 5X for less than a $30,000 incremental annual spend. Other benefits the association realized included:
- Decreasing recovery time for mission-critical apps from 72 hours to less than 8 hours
- Reducing full snapshot capture and recovery from 12 to 2 hours via faster data processing
- Increasing storage optimization by 2.5X and reducing data snapshot and clone creation times by more than 200X by deploying higher-performance, NetApp storage arrays with data compression/deduplication
- Reducing physical footprint and overall management overhead by deploying an integrated high-performance compute, storage and multicloud DR infrastructure
An interconnection-first, multicloud solution DRaaS solution
We led the planning, design and deployment of the compute, storage and multicloud infrastructure on Platform Equinix™ in Silicon Valley, which enabled the association to utilize newer, higher-performing and more cost-efficient system, storage, interconnection and cloud technologies. A hybrid cloud-based DR infrastructure enabled the association to remove the overhead and maintenance costs associated with keeping redundant systems running in the event of a failure. They achieved this by putting compute resources in the cloud, while keeping their storage local for more immediate access and greater data security/privacy.
The association leveraged NetApp Private Storage for Cloud, its FlexPod Converged Infrastructure (along with Cisco as the network backbone) and an A300 all flash storage array 75 – 90 terabyte data repository. The multicloud interconnection was delivered via the Equinix Cloud Exchange, which provides virtualized connections between the compute/storage DRaaS infrastructure and the AWS and Microsoft Azure/Office 365 cloud platforms for faster, more scalable and cost-effective hybrid/multicloud connectivity. Since this infrastructure was located within the same location as the Equinix Cloud Exchange and connected via a dedicated high-speed fiber cross-connect, the highest levels of security, control and performance could be provided.
According to the association’s VP/CIO, the new environment will “give our developers an ‘easy button’ to create their own virtual environment on the fly to do development and testing with multiple clouds without losing control of our data.”
Planning for future growth
Today, the association’s disaster recovery operations are being completely managed by Datalink Managed Services, allowing it to be more productive and innovative in driving new business. The resulting solution combines the best of both worlds: Private, dedicated storage for keeping data more readily available and secure on-premises with NetApp storage, along with on-demand cloud compute power when needed for testing or in the event of a disaster. This new site is the first of a multiphase process for building out the association’s IT capabilities. It provides a foundational platform that will eventually support the association’s application development/test environment and add capacity for burst traffic to supplement or backup its production infrastructure.
Bringing our nonprofit customer to Equinix gave them a truly best-of-breed data center and interconnection platform to build a more high-performance, scalable, resilient and cost-effective DR infrastructure. It also provided them with the ability to elevate their operational IT model to a more forward-looking productive model that they can better leverage to support their members.
Read the entire case study about our customer’s cloud-based DRaaS solution.
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