As a services and solutions-driven company, Propak creates customized supply chain solutions for individual customers and writes numerous proprietary applications to meet customer requirements. While the company has seen slower growth in physical storage, data in the cloud increased by 10-fold in the last 24 months. All in-house applications are stored to the cloud, and include customized solutions such as inventory management dashboards to track loads, from brokerage all the way down to invoicing.
Propak had recently replaced aging technology, but it turned out to be a poor replacement, with continual failures, and even an upgrade caused the company to miss two weeks of backups. The IT team was replicating 15 servers onto Veeam and wanted to identify a cost-effective solution with management from a single pane of glass.
With greater reliance on the cloud, and a renewal deadline for Veeam, Propak looked to plan ahead for eventual migration to a hyperconverged environment across its infrastructure stack.
Propak needed the following capabilities in a secondary storage solution:
- Good, clean backups with simplified management and administration
- Replace Veeam with single solution for backup and recovery
- Cost-effective platform for both production and disaster recovery environments
- Robust search capabilities for quick retrieval of files and folders
Propak could no longer rely on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, and additional legacy solutions proved to be cost prohibitive and could not meet the requirement for simplified management. After evaluating both Cohesity and Rubrik, Propak moved forward with a hyperconverged solution from Cohesity that enabled simplified management across the entire secondary data environment. Propak deployed Cohesity C2300 nodes with DataProtect.
With a successful Cohesity deployment, Propak is considering a more complete hyperconverged environment. The ease-of-management Cohesity provides is motivation to leverage a similar environment on the infrastructure for primary data as well.
Propak has a fairly small datacenter and is a majority Cisco environment. While the company has only increased its physical storage footprint by 15 percent in the last four years, it is putting a majority of its spend to cloud resources because of heavy application development for internal and customer-facing activities. Propak manages a significant amount of data on site, and now has visibility into its overall storage environment from a single pane of glass. Cohesity is backing up a Domain Controller and VMware vCenter workloads, and eliminated the need to replace its SAN for disaster recovery.
Like many large enterprises, our organization has data stored in multiple locations and systems, and there is a huge advantage to not only consolidate data infrastructure for better efficiency and control, but also leverage and access data for business value. Cisco and Cohesity both provide essential technology for our business data needs. Their continued integration with hyperconverged architectures will make it even easier for us to deploy our data infrastructure in a multicloud environment.”
– Erik Butler, Infrastructure Manager
Since implementing the Cohesity solution, Propak has streamlined and simplified its entire storage environment. While the IT team would say it does not have an overly complex environment, it took much more time to perform backups and recovery, and was cumbersome to retrieve data. Cohesity now provides visibility into all backup and recovery, and locating files is not only much simpler, but also has saved the IT team a great amount of time. While Propak is not currently leveraging the cloud with Cohesity, a key selling point was its ability to expand and manage the cloud tier with Cohesity down the road.
Another huge selling point and great benefit with Cohesity was the ability to simplify its disaster recovery operations. From two Dell servers, Propak uses Cohesity to mount NFS volumes and present to VMware, eliminating the need to replace its SAN for disaster recovery and saving more than $50K.
Cohesity has improved replication times and schedules are minimized and simplified. Backups to the disaster recovery site take only minutes, with immediate verification and no failures. The replication schedule is right on the Cohesity dashboard, and the audit trail is exceptional so Propak can guarantee backups are completed successfully. Previously, failed backups alerted only once per day, while Cohesity will alert even if a backup is going to take more time than anticipated. Propak is backing up multiple SQL servers in under two minutes, a process that took much longer previously and without insight into how much data was copied, or the ability to even verify a good backup.
Propak does not have a lot of changed data in its environment, and was not running deduplication in its previous storage architecture, however the company is seeing a deduplication rate of 5.28 with Cohesity, a good rate for the types of data the company manages. Butler also adds, “The upgrade process with Cohesity is ridiculously easy when you can back up the entire system while the platform is upgrading. With our previous solution an upgrade took us down for two weeks, so being able to upgrade Cohesity in the middle of the day, set it and leave it without experiencing any delays, and then it’s done 30 minutes later is exceptional.”
Additional benefits include leveraging Cohesity for testing patches for its test/dev environment. Cohesity’s elastic search features are invaluable and locating files and folders takes longer to type out the file name than to complete the search.
Propak realized many benefits with Cohesity including:
- Saved $50K in CapEx by eliminating replacement SAN for disaster recovery
- Ease of management and visibility into the overall environment
- Ability to mount NFS volumes off Cohesity and present to VMware
- Transformational elastic search capabilities for file and folder recovery