90 %

Less time for management

Cohesity gives our essential data an added level of security. By incorporating single sign-on with multi-factor authentication and DataLock for immutability and retention policies, we can prevent anyone from accidentally or intentionally deleting any of our backups. Other vendors don’t come anywhere near the level of security assurance we get with Cohesity.

Cazi Brasga

Systems Engineer, City of Santa Monica

By moving to Cohesity, the City of Santa Monica was able to cut data management time by over 90% and establish consistent data retention policies across all workloads. The highly efficient, integrated Cohesity data protection solution has improved data security, and enabled the City’s IT team to focus on more strategic initiatives.

The Challenge

The City of Santa Monica’s IT team is responsible for managing all of the applications and services used by the region’s 93,000+ citizens and departmental employees. Many of these services, including the jurisdiction’s police and fire dispatch systems, must be available 24×7 to ensure the safety of all city residents and visitors. “Our services are not outsourced, like they are in many other cities,” explained Cazi Brasga, Systems Engineer at the City of Santa Monica. “Our core team of IT professionals works very hard to maintain the existing environment to ensure business continuity. But if we ever experience an outage in any of our systems, we must have the ability to recover these essential services very quickly.”

The City had been relying on Commvault for data protection for over 10 years. In addition to wanting to modernize their backup software solution, their aging backup storage hardware was running out of capacity and regularly required piecemeal upgrades. “We were fighting those legacy systems on a daily basis,” noted Brasga. “We had to continually adjust our backup jobs to increase stability and implement better backup windows, and the Commvault backup software was very cumbersome with its very granular policies. Juggling all of the aging, disparate systems was very time-consuming for our team.”

When it came time to upgrade the environment, the City of Santa Monica looked for a solution that was more efficient, cost-effective, more secure, and easier to manage. The IT team evaluated several vendors’ solutions, including Veeam and Cohesity’s data protection software. Since Brasga had used Cohesity in his previous job and was very impressed with the platform, it quickly became the front runner for the upgrade. “Cohesity’s integrated data protection platform was designed from the ground up—the parts aren’t ‘bolted on’ like they are with most other data management solutions that grow over time, like Commvault’s solution. Trying to manage and upgrade an outdated technology platform is similar to remodeling a 1920’s house. At some point you realize it’s much easier to start building from the ground up, rather than continually remodeling an outdated structure with bad plumbing and wiring.”

The Solution

The City of Santa Monica moved from its previous data protection solution and deployed DataProtect, Cohesity’s high-performance software-defined backup and recovery solution in 2020. “Rather than continuing to manage multiple contracts, support, and management, we decided to go with Cohesity to collapse our backup software, hardware, and cloud data protection into a single, robust, and easy to-use solution,” said Brasga.

The Cohesity solution protects the City’s Microsoft 365 mailboxes, OneDrive and SQL databases, VMs, and physical servers both on-premises and in the cloud. Cohesity CloudSpin allows the City to replicate backup data and convert on-prem VMs to a cloud format for efficient and cost-effective disaster recovery with seamless failover.

“Cohesity was designed for both on-prem and hybrid cloud deployments,” noted Brasga. “Rather than having to engineer and set up two or three different environments for on-premises and cloud deployments, Cohesity allows us to protect, monitor, and manage everything with a single solution.”

They are also leveraging Cohesity’s security features, including single sign-on with multi-factor authentication and DataLock, to prevent anyone from accidentally or intentionally deleting backups. “Cohesity’s DataLock feature makes our backups immutable from accidental administrator deletion and provides additional ransomware protection,” said Brasga. ”I know that our backups will be there if we need them, since they can’t be altered or deleted. We are also evaluating the use of Cohesity Data Management as a Service (DMaaS) for cloud-to-cloud backups in the future.”

In addition to DataProtect, the City is using SmartFiles, Cohesity’s software-defined file and object service with next-level intelligence, scalability, and efficiency. “SmartFiles provides a centralized way to easily manage and protect all of our enterprise files,” said Brasga. “It improves our availability, compliance, and risk management and improves business processes. We are incredibly happy with the SmartFiles solution and its high availability, even during upgrades.”

The Results

By moving from Commvault to Cohesity, the City of Santa Monica went from an environment where its IT team was continuously fighting with the backup solution, to a ‘set and forget’ platform that also improved data security. “We don’t have to worry about our data and services anymore,” said Brasga. “If we ever need to restore anything, we know it’s there and can have everything up and running in minutes.”

Due to the simplicity of the Cohesity solution and its intuitive Helios management interface, data management takes 90% less time on the Cohesity platform. With the resources freed up from managing the Commvault environment, the City’s IT team can now focus on other projects and initiatives with higher value.

Creating consistent backup retention policies and audit trails is also much easier with Cohesity. “It was hard to manage all of the disparate components in our previous environment, so we ended up with many different retention periods for our data,” admitted Brasga. “With Helios, we can see everything in one screen. We now run 31 dailies and 13 monthly backups for all workloads. This helps us simplify data management and know with certainty that all our protected data is available for recovery, when needed.”

“I am a huge fan of the Cohesity platform and recently obtained my Cohesity certification,” concluded Brasga. “I believe in continuous improvement, so if there is an opportunity to replace a legacy solution with a more modern one such as Cohesity, I’ll always work toward it.”

Key Benefits

  • Improve data security
  • Create consistent backup schedule
  • Move completely off tape backups to cloud backups in AWS Glacier
  • Reduce data management time by 90%
  • Enable the IT team to innovate and focus on more strategic initiatives

About City of Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a beachside city of 8.3 square miles on the westside of Los Angeles County. Its residential population is approximately 93,000, increasing to an estimated 250,000 during the day with tourists, shoppers, and employees. The City of Santa Monica has a strong and diverse economy and attracts over eight million visitors annually. Known as Silicon Beach, local businesses are at the leading edge of the nation’s creative economy and startup scene. For more information on the City of Santa Monica, visit www.santamonica.gov.

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