City of Williamsburg
City of Williamsburg Improves IT Resiliency with Axcient Cloud
Williamsburg, founded as the capital of the Virginia Colony in 1699, is a city with deep historical roots. One of America’s first planned cities, it quickly grew to be the center of political, religious, economic and social life in Virginia. Today, Williamsburg is known internationally as the premier center for the preservation and interpretation of American colonial history: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; and as the home of the nation’s premier small public university: The College of William and Mary.
Information Technology Director Mark Barham is responsible for supporting the city’s mission to “provide exceptional information technology systems and service to our customers, both internal and external, that supports the mission and vision of the City of Williamsburg and to do so in an efficient and cost-effective manner.” For this vision to become a reality, the IT department is tasked with providing the right technology solutions and disaster recovery and business continuity initiatives. In its way, however, was a legacy infrastructure comprised of Symantec Backup Exec 2012 for local backup of data that was then sent to a Storage Area Network (SAN) connected two miles away at another facility.
When plans were made to retire the SAN in favor of a solution with offsite data protection that was not located so close to the main office, Barham started to look at cloud solutions.
“I tried Amazon Web Services but the interface was not good and integrating with it was not straightforward,” Barham said. “The solution felt like it would be more trouble than it was worth.”
That’s when he found Axcient.
A City in the Cloud
The City of Williamsburg IT environment is based on VMware running a multitude of MS Windows servers that host the critical business systems, including SQL databases and GroupWise for email. Switching from backup vendors might give some IT managers pause, but Barham said the transition was seamless.
“We have 19 servers being protected by Axcient and 10TB of data,” Barham said. “Implementing Axcient to protect all of our data and servers was incredibly simple. We literally stopped using Backup Exec one day and were on Axcient the very next day.”
Between the smooth implementation, the easy deployment and the single interface, the City of Williamsburg was confident in its decision to rely on Axcient for improved resiliency.
“Recovering files is significantly easier with Axcient than with any other product I have used and the interface is so easy to use,” Barham said. “Now that we have the cloud as our secure offsite solution, I’m confident that if anything were to happen we can run our entire environment in the Axcient cloud and continue operating.”
Providing Clear ROI
A key measurement of success for the City of Williamsburg is a clear Return on Investment (ROI). For Barham, that means less management and faster recovery times.
“If something were to happen with our previous setup, we would lose hours trying to recover because we would have to manually rebuild servers, connect to the remote SAN, and go through a lot of steps,” Barham said. “Everything is so much easier with Axcient because I can quickly failover one or more servers to the local appliance or the cloud and continue working in a matter of minutes.”
For IT professionals pressed for time and needing a solution that is easy to maintain, Barham also points to Axcient
as an example.
“The interface is great and super intuitive and it shows me what I need to know in a very short amount of time. I don’t want to be inundated with alerts, I want to be shown only what is not working and Axcient’s interface does just that. It saves me a lot of time.”
When application downtime is the cause for thousands of dollars in losses (recent research from Aberdeen Group approximates the hourly cost of downtime to be $163,000), every minute of interrupted operations counts. City of Williamsburg is now protected and ready to recover from any event that might potentially disrupt IT operations.
“You need a local copy and an offsite copy of your data, and the ability to quickly recover from a disaster,” Barham said. “Some IT managers might look at colocation or using a separate facility like we were doing but why would I duplicate my entire infrastructure somewhere else when I can just use Axcient? It’s better, more cost effective and I know I’m protected.”