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The Master Group Improves Data Recovery Time by 900%

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Company Returns 125 Days of Productivity

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At a Glance

The Master Group has been named one of Canada’s best-managed companies since 2010 and is the largest independent HVAC/R distributor in Canada. Since deploying Cohesity, Master has transformed its data management, improving reliability, reducing costs, and creating efficiencies.

Challenges

In addition to cutting costs, the team hoped to modernize its slow and cumbersome backups that often took more than two days and consumed extensive troubleshooting hours. Consolidated, modern infrastructure would also help IT staff more easily move from tape backups to leveraging cloud for long-term retention.

Solution

The IT team set up PoC environments to evaluate Cohesity, Commvault, and Rubrik. In head-to-head comparisons, Cohesity demonstrated superior speed, easier management, and more comprehensive data protection.

Results

By replacing tape backup with CloudArchive and AWS Glacier, Master has improved operational resources by 50 percent, improved SLAs by 2x, and reduced incremental backup times by more than 80 percent. Master has transformed its data management, resulting in 900% improvement in data recovery time and 125 days of IT productivity improvements.

Overview

As Master Group IT began to set its five-year strategic direction, consolidating data center operations including improving backups was a high priority. The organization elected to migrate to a Cisco hyperconverged environment and required a complementary backup solution that would span on-premises and cloud environments. Since deploying Cohesity, Master has transformed its data management, improving reliability, reducing costs, and creating efficiencies resulting in 900% improvement in data recovery time and 125 days of IT productivity improvements.

Challenges

Master Group IT believed it could gain efficiencies by consolidating its data center operations, which are 99 percent virtualized and running SQL and Exchange Servers, to two locations—one production, the other for disaster recovery (DR). In addition to cutting costs, the team hoped to modernize its slow and cumbersome backups that often took more than two days and consumed extensive troubleshooting hours. Consolidated, modern infrastructure would also help IT staff more easily move from tape backups to leveraging cloud for long-term retention.

With Quest Rapid Recovery no longer able to meet The Master Group’s backup and recovery speed and security requirements to access and manage the value of data across its enterprise, the IT team began to consolidate its existing environment with hyperconverged Cisco HyperFlex and Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS), and identify a new, easier backup and recovery solution. A primary goal of its infrastructure renewal process would be to reduce the number of vendors it engaged, simplify data management, reduce overhead, and cut costs. 

Solution

After Insight Canada introduced The Master Group to several data management solution providers, the IT team set up proof-of-concept environments to evaluate Cohesity, Commvault, and Rubrik. In head-to-head comparisons, Cohesity demonstrated superior speed, easier management, and more comprehensive data protection.

“Cohesity backed up data twice as fast as the other two solutions,” according to François Lepage, Master Group Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Manager. “That sealed the deal for us. Cohesity was clearly the best solution to solve our backup challenges, help us extend to cloud, and reduce our costs going forward.”

The Master Group deployed Cohesity DataProtect and Cohesity DataPlatform for backup, recovery, and data protection, along with CloudArchive to store data in AWS Glacier for long-term retention. That eliminated legacy tape backup headaches. The distributor has two Cohesity clusters and replicates data to its secondary co-location (COLO) environment to ensure reliable DR. The software-defined Cohesity data management platform works seamlessly across data centers, freeing valuable IT resources for more innovative projects. Through a single interface with Cohesity Helios, the IT team has complete visibility into its backup data and has been able to overcome previous day-to-day management obstacles. Staff have even gone several days without needing to check the console.

A key Cohesity feature valuable to The Master Group is instant mass restore of VMs, which allows the IT team to restore VMs in a matter of minutes, at scale. This not only simplifies data protection, but ensures seamless protection. “The Google-like search capability has made it easy to restore data regardless of knowing if the data was located across files, VMs, or folders. The entire process is more efficient,” says Lepage. “In our previous environment, it could take several days to restore our largest Exchange backup, but now, with Cohesity, we can accomplish a restore in a matter of hours.”

A true backup solution, Cohesity has given our team new freedom and time to focus on valuable projects while resting easy because our environment is secure and we can easily restore data in minutes. We’ve significantly simplified data management and gained efficiencies across the board, returning tremendous benefits to our entire organization.”

– François Lepage, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Manager, The Master Group

Results

The Master Group is no longer challenged to back up or restore Exchange servers, and backup times have dropped from several hours to 45 minutes for its largest servers. 

By replacing tape backup with CloudArchive and AWS Glacier, Master has improved operational resources by 50 percent, improved SLAs by 2x, and reduced incremental backup times by more than 80 percent. Lepage estimates the reallocation of IT resources has returned 125 production days back to the company. 

Integrated with Cisco UCS, Cohesity also helps The Master Group reduce storage consumption and meet RTOs. Deduplication and compression that was previously 1:8, with Cohesity is 3:1. A mirrored Cohesity cluster at the COLO enables the IT team to meet a four-hour RTO with shorter data repatriation. 

 Overall, The Master Group has realized many benefits with Cohesity including:

  • 900 percent restore time reduction with regularly faster data restores 
  • Doubled datacenter capacity and storage space 
  • 125 production days returned to the company by eliminating tape backups
  • 75 percent reduction in full backups 

As The Master Group expands its hyperconverged architecture, it plans to extend Cohesity to back up Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint. In addition, the IT team expects to use Cohesity Marketplace app CyberScan to reduce risk by assessing its global cyber exposure through automated scans of backup snapshots.

About The Master Group

A leader in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration sector for over 67 years, The Master Group has been named one of Canada’s best-managed companies since 2010 and is the largest independent HVAC/R distributor in Canada. The company employs over 900 dynamic and devoted individuals who serve the industry at more than 43 branches and four distribution centers from coast to coast.

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