American Polywater Corp is the world’s leading manufacturer of cable-pulling lubricant, cleaners, sealants and construction chemicals. Headquartered in Stillwater, Minnesota, the company began life in 1974 selling a unique water-based cable pulling lubricant which revolutionized the industry. Over the years, it has greatly expanded its product range.
In addition to the communications and power utility markets, its products are sold into the general electrical trades, CATV, MRO industrial, and data communications markets in over a hundred countries worldwide.
For many years, American Polywater had relied on Dell SonicWALL CDP (continuous data protection) appliances to provide local data backup between the main site and a secondary location which housed its production department. The two sites were just a few miles apart, and having a CDP in each location provided redundancy for the organization. However, after moving offices, the company brought both sites together.
Understandably, it was anxious that a disaster or catastrophe could wipe out the main site and the backup at the same time. Jerry Hanson, network operations manager at American Polywater explained: “If something catastrophic happened, we’d have been up a creek without a paddle.”
The company decided to look at moving backup offsite. It began searching for a reliable disaster recovery solution to protect its internal servers, which control key parts of the business, including the Goldmine contact management and Made to Manage ERP packages that run on American Polywater’s SQL Server databases.
“As a one-man IT department there is a sanity saving; it eases my mind because it just works.”
Jerry Hanson, Network Operations Manager
American Polywater deployed two Quorum onQ appliances – one for its headquarters and one offsite. The onQ devices maintain up-to-date virtual machine clones of the group’s critical systems, so that they are ready to run on the appliance, transparently taking over for failed servers within minutes. The onQ devices back up the servers daily and critical servers twice daily.
onQ keeps up-to-date copies of the operating system, application and data files on the local and remote appliances but, unlike conventional backup and recovery solutions, it also has ready-to-run “Recovery Nodes” standing by. If any of the protected servers fail, the Recovery Nodes can be started with a single click and have American Polywater up running again in minutes. The entire process is totally self-contained and doesn’t’t require any additional hardware or software.
With Quorum, American Polywater’s disaster recovery strategy is not only resilient and efficient; it’s also simple to manage. Quorum’s solution fits into the company’s strategy while providing total peace of mind that the system is in safe hands. Hanson commented: “As a one-man IT department there is a sanity saving; it eases my mind because it just works.”
Even if both sites went down at the same time, American Polywater would be able to access the data and begin rebuilding them, regaining functionality in a short period of time.
The service provided by Quorum has been a great benefit to American Polywater. Hanson revealed that on several occasions Quorum had noticed a problem before he did; for example, notifying him when one server wasn’t getting a backup.
Hanson is very happy that the Quorum onQ solution has delivered value beyond DR, allowing him to complete applications testing and development much faster than before. For instance, he used Quorum as a sandbox for testing patches and upgrades, saving a lot of time and frustration in the process: He explained: “Just recently I upgraded our Goldmine package and wanted to deploy the latest update. Typically that means spinning up a test server, which takes a day or two, to ensure it works and won’t break anything. By contrast, I fired up my virtual server in the Quorum sandbox and it saved me two days worth of work.”
It only took three minutes to fire up the Quorum server on the test network instead of a day or day and a half with a traditional test server. Unlike a test server, Quorum’s server is identical, so Hanson is 99.9% confident it will run exactly the same in production.
Hanson is very happy to recommend Quorum as an IT investment that’s more than insurance. In fact, he already has: “I have recommended it. One thing I try to tell people about one-click backup is that it actually is that easy. You click the ‘protect me’ button and it walks you through the backup. It really is that simple.”
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