Southern Rural Water (SRW) is a Victorian Government Authority responsible for managing rural water resources across the southern half of country Victoria. These resources include dams, irrigation and surface water and groundwater licenses for farmers, graziers and growers.
With business centres and field staff spread across southern Victoria, SRW needed a business continuity plan to support their remote sites and ensure they could cope with the real threat of natural disasters in these areas. In recent years, SRW has been impacted by the threat of several natural disasters including floods in the Gippsland area, bush fires in the east, mine collapse and severe drought in the west.
These situations placed increased pressure on SRW to have a robust business continuity plan in place to be ready for a disaster. According to SRW ICT Manager, Amit Khairajani
“From recent experience we understand that disasters can and do occur, so we need to be prepared”.
In reviewing their business continuity plan, SRW recognised that their traditional tape backup system posed a significant risk to the organisation with regard to the time it would take to recover their environment, with no guarantee that it could recover fully.
The challenge for SRW was to find a solution that would allow them to recover 100% from a disaster within an acceptable time frame and with minimal impact to the organisation and its customers. SRW provides water for irrigation for farmers and automates the provision of water using flume gates which is all computer operated. As Amit explains,
“If our computer systems were down it would mean that we could cause significant damage to water channels and river beds, destroy crops from flooded farms and cause harm to communities from flooded roads and towns. It is therefore critical that services are running 24/7, regardless of any event”
In exploring a solution to meet their business continuity needs, SRW looked at a range of in‐house and outsourced options to identify which would work best in their environment. A key factor in selecting a solution was a guarantee that it will work when needed. According to Amit,
“One of the key criteria in selecting a solution was the guarantee that it will enable us to recover fully ‐ there is no point in investing in a solution if there is even a small chance that it won’t work when it is most required.”
SRW selected Global Storage’s fully managed disaster recovery service EnvironmentReady as the right solution to meet their business continuity needs. EnvironmentReady utilises the latest server virtualisation, data de‐duplication and replication technology to enable organisations to align application recovery to business requirements.
EnvironmentReady was seen to be ‘the perfect fit’ for SRW as it manages the risks associated with data loss and IT systems downtime. It provides SLAs that guarantee data is being automatically backed up and replicated off‐site and has an agreed response time following a declared disaster.
“The Global Storage solution was bullet proof. With guaranteed SLAs on recovery of data, it provided us the peace of mind that our data can be recovered within the required timeframe.”
As Amit explains, “The Global Storage solution was bullet proof. With guaranteed SLAs on recovery of data, it provided us the peace of mind that our data can be recovered within the required timeframe.”
Being a fully managed service, the EnvironmentReady solution also meant that SRW did not have to attain or acquire its own skilled and expensive resources to manage and maintain the solution. It proved to be more cost-beneficial to pay a monthly fee for EnvironmentReady versus the cost associated with setting up and running a secondary site for disaster recovery.
“The total net present value over 5 years was more cost effective for the Global Storage solution than having a redundant site set up with additional software licences and infrastructure which depreciates. A managed service such as EnvironmentReady does not have to provide a return on assets, as there is no capital expenditure, and demonstrates better net present value (NPV) compared with other solutions.” Says Amit.
The most significant benefit for SRW in implementing EnvironmentReady, enterprise managed disaster recovery, is the knowledge that they have absolute protection of their data and can recover their whole environment within 24 hours. As Amit says,
“The Global Storage managed service provides the peace of mind for SRW’s every day, but most critical processes. I can guarantee to the CEO and the Board that our data is 100% protected and our environment can be 100% recovered.”
SRW have the peace of mind that if a disaster were to occur, Global Storage provides a specialised recovery team dedicated to bringing their environment back online quickly. Amit says:
“Now if a disaster occurs, we have a team of experts, guaranteed to get us up and running. This gives us the confidence that we can continue operations and minimise risk to our business and downtime for our customers.”
An added benefit for SRW is that they do not have to worry about their data backups anymore as the managed disaster recovery service includes a fully managed online data backup service – DataReady. With DataReady, SRW can now restore three months of data online via GlobalView™ user web portal.
“Having three months of data online and being able to do our own restores through GlobalView™ is a great advantage for us – it now takes only minutes to restore a file.” Says Amit.
The full management and monitoring by Global Storage of all aspects of the backup and disaster recovery process provide SRW with greater assurance that their data is protected. EnvironmentReady provides full disaster recovery testing to ensure data can be recovered and DataReady provides full visibility into the success of backups.
“We now get reports to say that our data is fully protected, with no errors in replication and no errors in backup. Not many IT managers know this 100%” says Amit.
The EnvironmentReady and DataReady managed services have enabled SRW to improve resource efficiency and allocation. By implementing managed services to manage backup and disaster recovery, resource time and cost has been saved which has been reallocated to focus on application projects that generate value to the business.