Monday, October 21, 2019
William Buck is a leading firm of chartered accountants and advisors with six offices across Australia and New Zealand. Established in 1895, it has over 100 directors and 600 professional staff providing a full range of accounting and corporate advisory services. In New South Wales (NSW), William Buck employs around 210 staff.
William Buck NSW constantly cycled between outsourcing and insourcing management of its IT environment, which it hosts in an on-premises data centre. Its primary storage environment is Nutanix.
When Senior IT Manager, Ban Ch’ng, reviewed William Buck NSW’s IT governance, disaster recovery strategy, and business continuity planning, he raised concerns. As its business grew, so did the number of documents and amount of data it handled. Some of that data contains sensitive financial client information, as well as the firm’s playbook which includes a series of precedents used by staff to guide them when making future decisions.
“Those precedents are almost the bread and butter of William Buck. Without ongoing access to those precedents, we wouldn’t have the consistency in our decision making and advisory, and we wouldn’t be able to maintain our quality of service,” Ch’ng said.
In an average week, William Buck NSW’s small in-house IT team was being asked to recover data or to roll back to the previous version of a document at least twice. This process could take IT anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
With a growing clientele - and against the backdrop of increasing data and document volumes - William Buck NSW wanted to cut restoration times, while keeping its backup and recovery copies secure and its overall costs in check.
William Buck aimed for the following capabilities in its next backup and recovery solution:
William Buck NSW spent six months exploring options for a backup solution and wanted to find an end-to-end solution from a single vendor.
Sydney-based IT services firm VECTR provided an obligation-free proof-of-concept which was deployed in half a day and ran for two weeks. William Buck NSW liked what it saw so much that it put the solution - a three-node configuration of Cohesity appliances - into production after one month.
“We tested Cohesity against all our requirements - backup, restore, search and data deduplication - and it ticked all the boxes. It made backup really simple for us.”
With Cohesity in place, when staff need the previous version of a file restored from backup, the process takes no longer than five minutes and is up to 24 times faster than it was before.
“Now, when we go out to do a restore, my team can just use a browser to search for the name of the file to restore, locate it, and restore it. The resource is there for no more than five minutes,” Ch’ng said.
In addition, when William Buck NSW ran a disaster recovery test with its previous backup product, it took two hours for bare-metal recovery and restoration of a single virtual server on top of that.
“We have approximately 40 servers in production, so in the event of a disaster, if each server takes us two hours to recover, it will take us 80 hours to restore the whole data centre. What we love about Cohesity is that bare-metal restores run on-the-fly, so we can restore a server in five-to-ten minutes instead of two hours,” Ch’ng said.
Part of the improvement in speed is a result of Cohesity’s ease-of-use. “Cohesity feels intuitive, like you are using an iPhone. Anyone without formal training can look at it and work their way through. That simplicity extends to the underlying technology as well.”
In addition to Cohesity appliances, William Buck NSW is using Cohesity DataProtect and CloudArchive software. This enables the company to store archives either on Cohesity or the public cloud, while maintaining consistent security policies and deduplication across the hybrid environment.
“If I were to replicate to the cloud, my concern was cloud cannot do the same deduplication as on-premises secondary storage,” Ch’ng said. This would mean a much higher cost per usable gigabyte for cloud storage, offsetting some benefits of storing data there.
“A key requirement was to ensure whenever we back up on-premises and replicate that to the cloud, the amount of storage used would be almost identical. With Cohesity, we just pay a subscription and it maintains the encryption and deduplication of data sitting on-premises in the cloud. That is very cost effective for us.”
Security capabilities built into Cohesity have also won William Buck NSW over. The Cohesity solution offers capabilities that can help prevent ransomware from being able to target or delete backups. In addition, it offers encryption of data at rest, which William Buck NSW is likely to take advantage of in the future.
Benefits gained by William Buck NSW from Cohesity include: