Yarra Ranges Council key challenges for Disaster Recovery
Located on the eastern fringe of Melbourne’s metropolitan area, Yarra Ranges Council provides essential services to the community that need to be available and accessible at all times, even during a disaster. Like many organisations undertaking a review of their business continuity and disaster recovery plan, Yarra Ranges Council identified that their existing level of disaster recovery was inadequate. The existing disaster recovery plan was based on sourcing and installing new equipment if a disaster occurred to re-establish its data centre. It relied on retrieving backed up data from tapes to rebuild the IT environment – a process which was untested, unreliable and would take weeks to rebuild and recover the environment. Accordingly, the current disaster recovery plan was identified as a risk for Yarra Ranges Council.
Business Outcomes required by Yarra Ranges Council for Disaster Recovery
The key business outcome required by Yarra Ranges Council was to be able to maintain uninterrupted essential services to the community in the event of a disaster. Every council service ultimately relies on IT systems to support their operation so in order to achieve this outcome, the Yarra Ranges Council business continuity plan identified that full recovery of IT systems was required within 24 hours of a disaster occurring.
“The Council needs to be able to continue to access information that is required to provide services for aged residents, maternal and child care services and other critical services to the community” says Craig Whalley, Manger, Information Services for Yarra Ranges Council. “We also need to be able to continue to respond to ratepayers requests and inquiries, especially in a disaster situation”.
Yarra Ranges Council partners with Global Storage for Disaster Recovery
Having recently virtualised their environment and reduced over 50 servers to less than 10, Yarra Ranges Council looked at duplicating their data centre by creating a second site. However, after identifying the costs to purchase hardware and software, the cost to maintain and upgrade a second site and the cost to skill up and allocate the resources to implement and manage the solution, it was considered to be a prohibitive ongoing capital outlay and resource commitment.
Yarra Ranges Council compared this to outsourcing disaster recovery to Global Storage and found that the Global Storage solution offered improved benefits over duplicating their site. “The Global Storage solution was similar to what we had considered doing ourselves in isolation, but didn’t require us to take on the risk or the ongoing cost of doing it ourselves” says Craig
Yarra Ranges Council selected Global Storage to deliver EnvironmentReady™ Disaster Recovery Cloud Service as it delivered key cost and efficiency benefits over doing disaster recovery themselves. As Craig explains “The Global Storage solution was cost efficient, used less resources, didn’t require us to skill up internally to manage disaster recovery and meant that we didn’t need to worry about the ongoing maintenance or replacement of equipment”.
Initially, disaster recovery was the driver for the project, but backup was included as Global Storage were able to offer an outsourced backup solution which also made sense from an efficiency, resource and cost perspective. With backup windows being stretched and the reliability of backups unknown, the combined solution was very attractive for Yarra Ranges Council.
EnvironmentReady™ delivers key business benefits to Yarra Ranges Council
Yarra Ranges Council required a disaster recovery solution that was timely, reliable and proven. The solution also needed to be able to cater for the different user access methods required by Yarra Ranges Council, including remote access. EnvironmentReady™ Disaster Recovery Cloud Service has enabled the IT team to deliver these benefits to the business.
Timely recovery of Environment in less than 24 hrs.
Yarra Ranges Council now have an agreed service level agreement of ‘Next Business Day’ with Global Storage, meaning that in the event of an outage or disaster, IT systems will be up and running within 24 hours. The benefit of this is that IT system downtime is minimised to less than 24 hours so the reliance on manual systems during a disaster will be negligible.
Reliable, guaranteed recovery of data
Yarra Ranges Council wanted to maximise the recovery of their data and required assurance that their data was recoverable if a disaster or an outage occurred. The agreed service level with Global Storage states that 99.99% of data will be recovered, so Yarra Ranges now have the peace of mind that the recovery of their data is reliable.
Recovery tested and proven to recover all data in less than 24 hours.
Yarra Ranges Council required that the disaster recovery solution had to be properly tested so that the recovery time and reliability has been proven. EnvironmentReady™ Disaster Recovery Cloud Service provides thorough disaster recovery testing which has been able to demonstrate to Yarra Ranges Council that they can fully recover their environment in their required timeframe. During testing, users have been able to connect to the recovered network from Yarra Ranges Council sites, remotely from off site locations and at the Global Storage recovery centre. This level of DR testing significantly mitigates risk for Yarra Ranges Council and makes the Global Storage managed services very attractive from an auditors point of view.
Business Stakeholders embrace Disaster Recovery Cloud Service
IT staff from within Yarra Ranges Council have embraced the cloud services for disaster recovery and backup. Outsourcing disaster recovery and backup has removed the pain of managing the day to day backup processes, which allows them to focus on other areas. The online backup system also enables users to restore data quickly and easily online. “When it comes to outsourcing, you expect staff to be cautious and a little concerned about the change, but our IT team love the Global Storage managed services as they no longer need to worry about tape backup processes, and find it easy to use if they need to restore data.” says Craig.
Risk managers and other stakeholders from within the Council are also impressed with the Global Storage solution as they have gone from creating a Business Continuity plan based on IT systems not being available for days and weeks to having a recovery time of less than 24hrs. Their Business Continuity plans can now take into account that IT systems will be available, eliminating the reliance on manual systems in a disaster.
Global Storage expertise in Disaster Recovery seen as a ‘value add’
For Yarra Ranges Council, one of the major benefits in partnering with Global Storage is the value add of having access to Global Storage’s expertise in data management, including disaster recovery, backup and archival. “Global Storage can look at our IT environment holistically and advise us on the best way to manage the protection and recovery of our data, instead of a piecemeal approach.” says Craig “As our managed service provider, Global Storage is our advisor for data management and provide a thorough, proactive, consultative approach.”
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