Volunteers of America Western Washington

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In case of a disaster, our plan was to grab the portable NAS device and run out of the building.

March 22, 2012

Volunteers of America Western Washington

Volunteers of America Western Washington is a comprehensive human services organization that has been in the Puget Sound area for over 100 years. They receive over 350,000 calls for help per year and serve four primary groups: children at risk, individuals and families in crisis, individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities and seniors seeking support to remain longer in their primary residences.

 

Jim Beidle Technology Manager

Challenge

Jim Beidle, Technology Manager for Volunteers of America, wanted to get his backups offsite. Backups were broken to the point where IT couldn't guarantee a recovery with any confidence. The incumbent process was a disk-to-disk backup using Windows native backup and SQL Server backup to an on premises portable NAS device. “In case of a disaster, our plan was to grab the portable NAS device and run out of the building,” chuckled Beidle, only half kidding.

 

To add to the problem, there were about 15 remote sites that were not being backed up at all.

 

Alternatives

Volunteers of America Western Washington knew they wanted a cloud-based solution. “We were thinking about disk-to-disk-to cloud,” remembered Beidle. They were looking at a number of alternatives including Cloud Berry and Carbonite when they ran across a Zetta whitepaper and started to learn about the Zetta Online Backup and Disaster Recovery solution. “With Zetta, we could eliminate the disk-to-disk step and go directly to the cloud,” realized Beidle.

 

With Zetta, we could eliminate the disk-to-disk step and go directly to the cloud.

Volunteers of America Western Washington's Zetta Solution

Zetta delivers an easy-to-install and use solution that replicates critical client data into a Zetta datacenter where it is safely stored, in native file system format allowing instant access and recovery. A small ZettaMirror client is installed on customer servers. Simply configure the client by selecting the data sets for replication and the replication timeframe and from that point on, it's all automatic.

 

In September, Volunteers of America Western Washington began testing the Zetta solution. They installed ZettaMirror on five Windows 2003 servers, two Windows XP servers, and a Windows 7 server. The service is set to synchronize the data daily to the Zetta New Jersey datacenter. “I'm glad it's so far away,” said Beidle, “It's not likely that both coasts would be affected by a problem at the same time.”

 

Result with Zetta Online Backup and Disaster Recovery

Zetta helped Volunteers of America install the first ZettaMirror agent, and then Beidle installed the rest.

 

“It's an easy client to set up,” remembered Beidle. “There are no confusing 'extra steps' to get it to work.” It only took about a day to complete the first full data transfer. After the first day, only file changes are synchronized which happens in a matter of minutes.

 

With Zetta, Volunteers of America Western Washington is now backing up their remote sites as well as the main site. And there's no need to aggregate the remote office backup to the main site.

 

“The remote site backups go directly to Zetta,” pointed out Beidle. “This is great because it cuts down on the VPN traffic back to the main site.”

Our use of technology is integral to efficiently serving our clients. We are completely pleased with the Zetta technology and the company.

Zetta to the Rescue

After the long Thanksgiving weekend, one of the Samba file server devices failed to come back online. The server was a complete loss. As luck would have it, it was one of the servers that Beidle had included in the initial ZettaMirror testing. Since the data had been regularly synchronized to Zetta, Beidle was able to simply commission a new Windows server and reload it with the data from the Zetta copy.

 

“Zetta is now a large part of our disaster recovery plan,” stated a relieved Beidle.

 

In the future, Volunteers of America Western Washington is planning to add more Windows servers to the Zetta backup as they decommission their old Samba servers. And they will be adding executive computers into the Zetta online backup plan.

 

“Our use of technology is integral to efficiently serving our clients,” stated Beidle. “Without it, our work becomes more difficult and labor intensive. Decaying technology or poor design mean spending more on administration and salaries, and less on the people whose needs we meet. Good technology means more resources available to serve the homeless, the disabled, and families and seniors at risk. We are pretty proud of the fact that more than 87% of our resources go toward direct service.”

 

“We are completely pleased with the Zetta technology and the company,” concluded Beidle, “sales and customer service has been awesome.”

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