Hospitality Leader Santa Cruz Seaside Ensures SQL Protection with Cohesity

Company Reduces Backup Times by 75% with Cohesity

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At a Glance

The Santa Cruz Seaside Company has been making people scream, laugh, and create memories for more than a century. The company has moved many operations to the cloud including the adoption of Microsoft OneDrive for all employee workstations. Cohesity allows the company to easily manage its on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

Challenges

It not only took seven to nine hours to complete a full nightly backup, but often, required the need to restart backup jobs in case the application timed-out or stopped responding. Due to slow and clunky legacy backup solutions, the backup jobs would bleed into the operational hours, and often triggering the SQL servers to disconnect completely.

Solution

Cohesity allows the IT team to start small and grow with the flexibility to address future business needs. Cohesity’s native integration with Microsoft Azure enables easy data mobility, cloud-based long-term retention, and disaster recovery.

Results

SQL protection is consistent across the environment and the company has achieved RPOs of 15 minutes for its transactional POS servers. Cohesity has also simplified AD operations, using the platform for AD backups to enable granular, object-level protection across the entire AD environment, which was not previously possible.

Overview

The Santa Cruz Seaside Company has been making people scream, laugh, and create memories for more than a century. The family-owned company operates the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park in Santa Cruz, California. Touted as the “Coney Island of the West” when it opened in 1907, the iconic seaside amusement park now welcomes over 3 million visitors every year.

In addition to the Boardwalk, the company manages additional properties including Carousel Beach Inn, Sea & Sand Inn, the Boardwalk’s Cocoanut Grove event space, and Boardwalk Bowl, as well as many real estate investments and business partnerships throughout Santa Cruz County. The company is the fifth largest employer in the city of Santa Cruz, hiring up to 1,800 employees during high season.

Challenges

With the goal to modernize its IT infrastructure, the Santa Cruz Seaside Company team began to take a look at its existing data management infrastructure, including its backup and recovery environment, and evaluate ways to leverage the elasticity and economics of the public cloud.

With legacy infrastructure, backups were especially painful. It not only took seven to nine hours to complete a full nightly backup, but often, required the need to restart backup jobs in case the application timed-out or stopped responding. Due to the transactional nature of the business, this was no longer sustainable. Additionally, the company needed an enterprise-class disaster recovery solution, to ensure business continuity. The IT team operates in very tight non-production hours since many of its businesses and operations are open until 2 a.m. Due to slow and clunky legacy backup solutions, the backup jobs would bleed into the operational hours, causing a lot of issues once a snapshot was released, and often triggering the SQL servers to disconnect completely.

Given these restrictions and requirements, the Santa Cruz Seaside Company needed a modern data management solution and looked for the following capabilities:

  • Simplify the backup and recovery environment to meet RTO and RPO without affecting production servers during the day
  • Implement a secondary tier to offload data to the cloud with protection for sensitive data to protect HIPAA and PCI information
  • Provide software-defined solution with SQL awareness and VMware backups from a single platform
  • Enable disaster recovery and regional disaster contingency with native cloud integration

Solution

After quickly ruling out solutions from Infrascale and Unitrends and moving toward a policy-based solution with simplified manageability, the company evaluated Cohesity and Rubrik. Cohesity was chosen based on a simple user interface, and the superior capabilities like, in an event of a disaster, restoring to the primary or a standalone cluster. The disaster recovery capabilities were a tremendous asset and bonus over its existing solution.

For ease of deployment, Santa Cruz Seaside Company chose Cohesity DataPlatform and DataProtect to modernize its backup and recovery environment for a software-defined, hyperconverged solution. As a web-scale platform, Cohesity allows Santa Cruz Seaside Company’s IT team to start small and grow with the flexibility for Cohesity to address future business needs. Cohesity’s native integration with Microsoft Azure enables easy data mobility, cloud-based long-term retention, and disaster recovery.

Cohesity addressed our biggest backup and recovery concerns by providing fast, resilient, and reliable enterprise data protection for our growing company. We have tight windows in the hospitality industry, and Cohesity was able to perform a complete backup in one-third of the time of our previous solution. Cohesity’s capabilities, such as native integration with Microsoft Azure, have been a huge bonus for our overall operation and application development.”

Brian Critchlow, IT Systems Administrator, Santa Cruz Seaside Company

Results

Today, the data center has been significantly simplified, eliminating multiple point solutions to just one. The company has made leaps and bounds from several years ago, first moving many operations to the cloud including the adoption of Microsoft OneDrive for all employee workstations. The single pane of glass with Cohesity allows the company to easily manage its on-prem and cloud infrastructure.

While in the past SQL backups were handled locally on each server and shipped to a repository, this process was prone to failure and prolonged downtime. With Cohesity, SQL protection is consistent across the environment and the company has achieved RPOs of 15 minutes for its transactional point-of-sale (POS) servers. Cohesity has also simplified Active Directory (AD) operations, using the platform for AD backups to enable granular, object-level protection across the entire AD environment, which was not previously possible. Cohesity does not require a third-party integration tool and this was a significant advantage for Santa Cruz Seaside.

Additional benefits with Cohesity included the discovery that the encryption built in to the company’s POS software will encrypt again in Cohesity, protecting valuable user data, and providing a tool that the IT team hopes to take advantage of down the road. The company can also test applications and conduct disaster recovery testing without disruption, which was not possible with the previous infrastructure.

“One of our departments recently lost all employee performance review files and the IT team immediately received a triple ticket to try to avert a crisis,” explains Critchlow. “With Cohesity, we were able to easily search and restore our data within a few minutes. We simply were not able to respond and recover our data that quickly in our previous environment, and Cohesity continues to amaze us with its resiliency, speed, and reliability. Where previous tasks took half a day, we can now complete an entire backup in about three hours.”

Santa Cruz Seaside Company is taking advantage of Cohesity’s modern, web-scale data protection solution that spans from private to public, without disruption to customers or production. 

Santa Cruz Seaside Company has achieved the following results with Cohesity:

  • Easy policy-based tiering to the cloud for long-term retention
  • Data protection is achieved without affecting production during business hours with zero impact on SQL servers
  • Consistent and reliable SQL protection with low RPOs
  • Cloning a data warehouse of over 1TB takes approximately one minute to boot up, and IT can be querying the database within two minutes

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