Vita Group Simplifies Its Backup and Restore with Cohesity for Cost Savings of Over $500K

Australian Retailer Set for Future Cloud Storage Scalability

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At a Glance

Australian retailer dramatically simplifies backup and restore, while preparing its systems for the growth in cloud-based data.

Challenges

Vita Group needed to reduce complexity and overcome limitations with its backup system, and prepare for an expansion of public cloud storage.

Solution

The Australian company deployed a cluster of five Cohesity hyperconverged node appliances, including Cloud Archive and Tape Archive.

Results

It now takes Vita Group one day a week of time for backups and restores instead of three days and the company expects to save $500K over five years.

Overview

Vita Group is a publicly listed Australian retailer. It operates more than 100 Telstra-branded retail stores, previously known as ‘Fone Zone’, as well as five Telstra Business Centers.

It also has its own technology accessories brand, Sprout; Vita Enterprise Solutions for large enterprise and government ICT; men’s athleisure brand, SQDAthletica; and a rapidly expanding business, Artisan Aesthetic, consisting of premium medical-grade skincare clinics. Altogether, it has 130-plus retail points of presence across Australia and approximately 1800 staff.

Challenges

When IT Operations Manager Michael Lawrence joined Vita Group three years ago, he was immediately concerned with the company’s backup and recovery process. It wasn’t broken, but it was also ‘far from ideal’, relying on what he saw as an overly complex architecture for the organization’s needs.

Vita Group used Commvault for backups to an EMC Isilon primary storage array before being aged out to tape. The storage platform ran across two physical data centers set up in an active-active configuration, and contained more ‘moving parts’ than Lawrence believed necessary. The complexity meant Vita Group needed a dedicated backup administrator with in-depth knowledge of Commvault to drive backup and recovery. Still, Vita Group ran up against limitations.

For example, there was a hard limit on the number of items that the indexing node could serve, requiring a substantial investment in further infrastructure to resolve. The index contained metadata that Commvault needs to be able to locate and perform operations on the data that it backs up. Vita Group found that older files would simply drop from the index, unless excessive disk space was provided, making them much harder to locate and recover. Vita Group wanted to simplify the backup process and reduce the time it took.

Additionally, Vita Group’s infrastructure needs are changing. The company is using more SaaS, and this is primarily responsible for the growth in storage and backup requirements for applications such as SharePoint and Office 365. It is also starting to use Azure for secondary storage of its backups. “My intent is to tear down the second active data center when that comes to its end of life, and use Azure as a disaster recovery site,” Lawrence said.

Vita Group aimed for the following capabilities in its next data protection solution:

  • Simplified management and intuitive platform
  • Reduce backup and recovery times across entire infrastructure
  • Identify hyperconverged solution compatible with cloud integration
  • Flexible and cost-effective solution to meet future requirements

Solution

Vita Group briefly entertained upgrading its Commvault environment to a newer hyperconverged offering from the same vendor, but that would have maintained internal complexity and cost. Instead, it ran full evaluations of solutions from Cohesity and the combination of Veeam and ExaGrid.

While the project began as a way to improve backups, Lawrence quickly became interested in Cohesity’s secondary storage functionality and native integration with Azure. Both set Cohesity apart from other options, and led Vita Group to deploy a cluster of five Cohesity hyperconverged node appliances, including Cloud Archive and Tape Archive.

Vita Group ran a proof-of-concept of the Cohesity architecture alongside Commvault over four weeks. “The backup administrator actually stopped doing backup restores with Commvault during that time because it was so much faster and easier to do it with Cohesity,” Lawrence said. He then built out a business case and secured funding for full production deployment of Cohesity.

Although the company is continuing to use EMC as its primary storage platform, it will now use Cohesity as a secondary storage platform, mostly for file storage. The EMC array is due for refresh within 18 months, and Lawrence expects Cohesity will reduce the cost of that upgrade. “Being able to go through and identify things on our primary storage that can be moved to Cohesity will reduce the amount of primary storage we’ll need to procure,” he said.

We have seen great results with Cohesity. Being able to go through and identify things on our primary storage that can be moved to Cohesity will reduce the amount of primary storage we’ll need to procure. We now have a team of people that can backup and restore our environment. There are massive advantages in having a product that’s straightforward and simple enough that any one of the team can do it, as well as introducing a good bit of risk mitigation.”

– Michael Lawrence, IT Operations Manager

Results

Vita Group found it was spending three days a week ‘keeping the lights on with Commvault’ but has now reduced that to one day a week of effort using Cohesity.

A big win for Lawrence is that his whole infrastructure team can now run backup and restore, rather than everything pass through a single specialist administrator. “I’m in a position where any one of the infrastructure team of six can introduce a backup and perform a restore from Cohesity. We now have a team of people that can backup and restore our environment. There are massive advantages in having a product that’s straightforward and simple enough that any one of the team can do it, as well as introducing a good bit of risk mitigation.”

The business case forecasts total cost of ownership savings of $500,000 over five years. The Cohesity solution has been in place only a few short months but is already delivering results, increasing backup and restore efficiency and reducing costs. Vita Group expects to expand its use of Cohesity as the functionality in the platform increases. In particular, it hopes to use Cohesity to backup data from its SaaS environment in future, including Office365.

Vita Group realized the following benefits with Cohesity:

  • TCO savings of more than $500K over next five years
  • Ability to use Cohesity for more than just backup and recovery with flexible features
  • Simplified management and ease-of-use enables entire team to easily administer
  • Significant time savings for management and administration

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