Benchmark Capital is a venture capital firm responsible for the early stage funding of some very successful startups. In 1997, the firm invested $6.7 million in eBay, which became worth more than $5 billion by the spring of 1999. Other high-profile investments include Juniper Networks, Red Hat and Twitter. Benchmark Capital is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners.
The Business Challenge
Benchmark had an existing high availability solution for email, which they considered to be their most critical application. When their HA vendor suddenly went out of business, this became the catalyst for them to seek a replacement solution. An assessment of the situation brought the realization that with a recently virtualized environment, more was possible in terms of HA, backup and disaster recovery, and everything pointed to cloud based services as the obvious direction.
Specifically, Michael Traski, the firm’s Manager of IT Services wanted a platform service that would provide an immediate solution to their business requirements, as well as a long term migration path for an eventual total move to cloud-based data centers.
“Trying to budget for disaster recovery is like selling life insurance. At many organizations, business continuity is under-built because when the money is examined there is always reluctance to spend too much. I was focusing on implementing an affordable solution that reduces complexity and paves the road to a next generation IT infrastructure,” Michael explained.
The Right Solution
Benchmark had heard about nScaled through recommendations from peers already using the service. With enterprise-class cloud data centers being new to the market, they were cautious, and looked for more solutions from well-established telecom companies like Quest, as well as considering VMware solutions using Site Recovery Manager (SRM).
They found that these alternatives:
• offered limited opportunity for customization
• had functional limitations
• were very expensive
Ultimately Benchmark was looking for more than just a point solution and wanted to be able to operate the entire data center in the cloud if they needed to.
Benchmark chose nScaled because the solution provides:
• backup of all systems in the data center
• both local on-premises recovery capability and remote cloud recovery
• high availability of all core systems
Furthermore, they were encouraged by nScaled’s use of mature, well established technologies like VMware and FalconStor, and found that the nScaled business model offered flexibility and attractive pricing. The existing budget from their (now out of business) backup provider was sufficient to cover the nScaled solution, while delivering more value in the process. Primary reasons for the decision included price, flexibility, proven technologies, and peer referrals.
With the nScaled solution in place, a total of 15 servers running in the primary data center are being replicated to the nScaled Dallas data center with hourly snapshots. Two separate VLANs have been
established: one for production servers and one for testing continuity server recoveries. As the final stage of the implementation process, within just a few hours, Benchmark was able to perform a full failover test of all critical systems. They plan to complete this test twice per year to make sure that the environment remains ready to go on-demand and that no unexpected surprises might await them.
An additional benefit of the solution is that as the firm deploys new services moving forward, they can be deployed as new primary services in the cloud data center without capital costs and without the need to purchase additional hardware or storage. Michael Traski estimates that within 24 months the firm will be ready for a complete move to cloud based data center services.
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