Disaster Recovery Gives Insurers Peace of Mind
Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance is the oldest and largest mutual insurance company dedicated to wood products and building material industries.
For almost 125 years, PLM has insured wood manufacturers and distributors throughout the U.S. from its Philadelphia headquarters. The company took its IT infrastructure from bare metal to on-premises VMware in 2008, and into a cloud-based data center with a VMware infrastructure from bare metal to on-premises VMware in 2008, and into a cloud-based data center with a VMware partner in 2014.
“At the same time in 2014, we provisioned a disaster recovery site in Atlanta,” says BJ Gardner, PLM’s lead systems architect.
About a year ago, Gardner started exploring the possibility of offloading the DR site. He wanted an alternative that would be less expensive and offer better connectivity and visibility. The fact that VMware now offers a DRaaS solution made the decision to sunset the Atlanta site an easy one.
“In the end, the process is very similar — replication is replication,” says Gardner. “We weren’t worried about functionality. We lost some footprint, so we have less to worry about. We got rid of a circuit that was troublesome for us.”
The shift to a DRaaS model has also made the management of PLM’s data easier, Gardner says.
At the time of the transition, the company’s IT department was losing head count. By simplifying day-to-day data management for the company, DRaaS has allowed PLM to do more with less.
“My engineer before had to monitor jobs daily,” says Gardner. “He would monitor backup jobs, replication jobs. Now, our managed service provider handles that, so there is less daily work for us.”
Businesses Need Disaster Recovery To Keep Clients Running
“We have a lot of large organizations, including Fortune 100 and 500 companies, in our portfolio; they all have very strict expectations around their critical applications,” says Justin Diana, vice president of operations.
Based in Raleigh, N.C., Corevist operates internationally across all time zones; there’s never a time when the business can go down.
Diana selected TierPoint for its recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) capabilities — under 30 minutes and under 10 minutes, respectively. The ability to be back up and running in a matter of minutes, not hours, and with less than 10 minutes’ worth of lost data more than satisfies Corevist’s clients’ needs.
“TierPoint DRaaS already had integration for our environment; it would replicate it byte for byte,” says Diana. “Literally, with the push of a button, we can replicate the entire environment in a preconfigured and waiting matching environment.”
Time is critical to Corevist’s business model, which is part of the reason the company made the decision to use a DRaaS solution.
“There are many traditional methods for recovery, if you’re not a mission-critical or business-critical system,” says Diana. “Traditional backups, offsite backups, spare hardware in your garage: Those are all viable solutions to a disaster if you have hours or days to come back up.”
That doesn’t describe most businesses. For those like Corevist that have strict RTO and RPO requirements, he says, DRaaS can be the best path to meeting those needs.