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CASE STUDY: GLOBAL SUPPORT

Company
RY Corp is a wireless equipment design company based in San Diego.

Challenges
1. Data Storage
When RY Corp brought in SpotLink, they were typical of many of SpotLink’s small business clients: an entrepreneurial start-up with a staff of about 14 and standard needs: to add a small business server, get licenses under management, set up shared resources, and roll out consistent versions of software.

However, RY Corp’s business rapidly grew and so did their needs. As an engineering design firm, RY Corp uses modeling software that creates hundreds of gigabytes of data for each overnight run, and all data has to be saved. With over a dozen runs each night, the original storage soon surpassed its storage.

Solution
SpotLink employed an array of HP servers and storage equipment to handle the intermediate storage requirements and continued to help RY Corp monitor their storage and user needs, making sure they avoided outages and were able to upgrade smoothly when the time came.

2. Addition of Regional Design Offices
Later, RY Corp added design offices in two Asian Pacific Rim countries. These regional offices had to be self-sufficient while still relying upon access to the central file repository – while maintaining centralized control through SpotLink's San Diego Office.

This presented SpotLink with several challenges: not only language, but also a significant time zone difference and office-specific security. Backups presented yet another challenge. The staff members at each location did not want to be bothered with rotating tapes, and SpotLink also needed to be able to restore files for individuals without having to wait for someone to load a tape.

Solution
SpotLink set up a system where each individual office can connect to and access the secure resources on RY Corp’s network. Deciding to use a single Windows Domain with each region being its own Organizational Unit, they used Distributed File Systems to keep the data in sync and make file access local to each office. SpotLink also used security groups and NTFS security to limit what each of the remote offices could access.

For backups, SpotLink devised a method using a combination of Symantec Backup Exec's Backup-to-Disk, and Microsoft's Distributed File System (DFS). The offices can save the backups to a DFS target, and then that data will be replicated to San Diego, where it will be copied to RY's central robotic backup library.

The biggest remote challenge occurred when the Domain Controller failed at one of the remote offices. Unable to have the server sent back to San Diego for reimaging because of time constraints, SpotLink used a combination of HP technologies, Microsoft Install options, and Symantec Backup Exec tools to do a full system recovery starting from a bare metal server – all from 8,000 miles away.

3. Rapid Response to Major System Failures
Six months after RY Corp’s storage server was launched, the server went offline in the middle of the night. In less than an hour, SpotLink was onsite assessing the situation. The news was not good: the RAID system was showing multiple simultaneous disk failures.

Later that day the server went offline another time, again reporting multiple disk failures. Often, with multiple disk failures, there is little chance of recovering data. Realizing the scope of the issue, the HP tech called in his supervisor.

Solution
The fact the RAID system was showing multiple simultaneous disk failures seemed unbelievable.  Yet within the hour, two SpotLink engineers and three HP technicians were onsite, all working to resolve the issue. The HP techs arrived with spare parts and replaced drives and the RAID controller.

SpotLink immediately started a full system restoration to save files and data. By morning, the critical files were restored, with the rest of the files following. In the end, HP replaced the entire server with a new server and drives, which performed flawlessly thereafter. What might have been devastating turned out to be just an inconvenience.

Results
Franz, CEO of RY Corp, recalls, "From when the problem started to when it was resolved 72 hours later, we had SpotLink staff continuously onsite doing what was needed to keep our business operating. We knew when we hired SpotLink that we weren't hiring an individual, but an organization of professionals."