Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Chooses Cohesity for Next-Gen Data Management and Scale-Out NAS

Hospitality Leader Reduces Data Recovery Time by More than 95%

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At a Glance

HE&R had outgrown its existing backup and recovery solution and with a data center refresh on the horizon, the company began to identify a more stable data management platform.

Challenges

The organization was experiencing the typical pain points and complexity of legacy infrastructure, along with exorbitant costs for support, and the IT team began to look at Cohesity, Rubrik, and Veeam.

Solution

HE&R is using Cohesity for backup and recovery, as well as leveraging the single, web-scale platform to host SMB file shares, and the IT team is looking to eventually also use Cohesity to manage data in the cloud.

Results

Cohesity is now the standard DR platform for the company, and a second Cohesity cluster is located in Bethlehem for automatic data failover. Cohesity is also used for dev/test, and the IT team hopes to expand and offer this capability to additional groups within the company.

Overview

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) is a world-class entertainment and hospitality company that owns and operates a diverse portfolio of operations including Hersheypark amusement, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, three golf courses and the Hershey Bears AHL hockey team. HE&R’s core purpose is to help fulfill the dream of its founder, Milton S. Hershey, by providing value to Milton Hershey School® in its mission of helping students lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives – just as Mr. Hershey intended. HE&R is also committed to providing exceptional service to its guests who are creating memories to last for years to come.

Challenges

The HE&R IT team is structured to support all areas of the company, including its more than 12 restaurants and three resort properties. The IT team manages administration, help desk and desktop support, applications, infrastructure, development, security, telecom, and web. The primary corporate data center is located in Hershey, PA with a second data center nearby and a disaster recovery (DR) COLO in Bethlehem, PA.

The IT environment has undergone significant infrastructure changes in the last year, including recently deploying HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Nimble All Flash Array for primary storage. HE&R has a 99% virtualized environment, more than 300 VMs, and is looking to migrate additional IBM legacy infrastructure in the very near future.

During the planning phase of the datacenter refresh, the IT team looked at deploying a next-gen data management solution for backup and recovery. The company needed a solution to reliably protect a high availability data center on site. With ongoing construction projects, and possible extended power outages, the IT team wanted a failover site closer than its DR location in order to easily move workloads. HE&R had outgrown its existing backup and recovery solution and with a data center refresh on the horizon, the company began to identify a more stable platform. The organization was experiencing the typical pain points and complexity of legacy infrastructure, along with exorbitant costs for support, and the IT team began to look at Cohesity, Rubrik, and Veeam.

HE&R aimed for the following capabilities in a data management solution:

  • Simplified, modern platform for data management from a single pane of glass
  • Eliminate gap between production and backup data
  • Flexible and scalable solution to accommodate seasonal data volumes
  • Capability for data management in the cloud, including dev/test

Solution

During the initial discovery phase, the IT team realized that in addition to addressing their backup and recovery needs, with Cohesity the company could reduce its primary storage footprint by also using Cohesity for Scale-Out NAS without additional hardware. This functionality, along with impressive performance, helped solidify the decision to move forward with Cohesity.

Implementation was simple and effortless. HE&R is using Cohesity for backup and recovery, as well as leveraging the single, web-scale platform to host SMB file shares, and the IT team is looking to eventually also use Cohesity to manage data in the cloud. Cohesity is now the standard DR platform for the company, and a second Cohesity cluster is located in Bethlehem for automatic data failover. Cohesity is also used for dev/test, and the IT team hopes to expand and offer this capability to additional groups within the company.

HE&R retains data for seven years, follows guidelines for PCI-DDS, and typically has 20% data growth per year. As data management requirements change, HE&R will consider using Cohesity CloudTier to migrate data to Microsoft Azure for cloud retention.

Cohesity is eminently flexible. Not only has HE&R implemented a next-gen enterprise backup and recovery solution, but the single, web-scale platform from Cohesity gives us flexible options for data management, including cloud archival, disaster recovery, dev/test, and Scale-Out NAS. Cohesity provides efficiency and simplicity, and will enable lower TCO across our organization as we move away from legacy solutions and embrace a software-defined solution.”

– Dan Dengler, Director of IT Operations

Results

Since deploying Cohesity, the IT team has simplified data management operations across the company. “We have seen our data recovery times shrink considerably, including RPO and RTO metrics. We used to have to go to our COLO provider to submit a ticket, retrieve tapes, and this process could take several hours. Now with Cohesity, I can search for a file and recover data within a few seconds. A web-scale data management platform is transformational for HE&R,” states Chris Roye, Infrastructure Engineer.

The entire recovery process for VMs has changed significantly. In the previous environment when the IT team restored a VM, it only had the last three recovery points to work from, but now the company has set automatic policies in Cohesity to be able to access archive data for a year, and can instantly restore up to 15 days’ worth of backup snapshots. Recovering a single VM previously took more than an hour, and now when performing a recovery operation, an entire set of VMs are back on even before all the data is fully migrated.

With Cohesity, HE&R is seeing 30x data global deduplication and compression, which will be especially advantageous as the company looks to migrate and recover data to the cloud or to its DR site. This will keep costs lower not only when moving data across the network but when it comes to paying for cloud storage on a monthly subscription basis. .

The HE&R team is also using Cohesity for instantly cloning dev/test environments from backup data snapshots and anticipates expanding this capability to additional teams, including directly to application developers. One possible use case would be with the application team who is responsible for ResortSuite, the resort and hotel guest software platform. If the administrator were planning a large software upgrade, the Cohesity platform can now allow the team to clone VMs and test the upgrade ahead of production and launch to ensure there are no surprises or glitches.

HE&R is also considering using Cohesity for SMB file shares for five file servers, which would allow for the IT team to move file shares onto to Cohesity on the backend, while retaining the same paths and allowing all existing user links and application workflows to work the same.

The company has realized many benefits with Cohesity including:

  • Data recovery times reduced by more than 95%
  • Reduced SAN primary array capacity needs by using Cohesity for Scale-Out NAS
  • Ability to synch data from multiple sites to the Microsoft Azure cloud using Cohesity CloudTier

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