AWS Disaster Recovery Scenario: Malibu Boats Recovers from IT Disaster in Minutes

  • Disaster Recovery

Overview

As the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance sports boats, Malibu Boats knew that it was time to upgrade their disaster recovery strategy. Depending on a secondary DR data center that was located in the same geographic region as their primary data center was too risky. Moreover, as their business grew and IT environment expanded, running a fully provisioned secondary data center for disaster recovery purposes only was becoming prohibitively expensive.

Working in collaboration with Rackspace, Malibu Boats selected CloudEndure, a cloud-based disaster recovery solution that enabled them to achieve enterprise-level recovery into AWS while meeting strict budgetary requirements.

As it turned out, Malibu Boats ended up needing their newly implemented disaster recovery strategy much sooner than expected. Shortly after setting up CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, a mission-critical server in their data center went down.

Fortunately, they were able to failover to AWS, returning their backend applications and factory to normal operations within minutes. Once the source server was fixed, Malibu Boats was able to failback their cloud-based recovered server to their data center just as quickly, using CloudEndure’s reverse sync capability, without data loss or disruption.

“With CloudEndure and AWS, being able to virtually recover something in minutes, as opposed to hours and hours, is a real lifesaver.”
Greg Ward, VP of Information Systems and Technology at Malibu Boats

Company

Malibu Boats (NASDAQ: MBUU) is a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of performance sports boats, with the #1 market share position in the United States since 2010. The Company has three brands of high-performance boats, Malibu, Axis Wake Research (Axis), and Cobalt. Since inception in 1982, the Company has been a consistent innovator in the powerboat industry, designing products that appeal to an expanding range of recreational boaters and water sports enthusiasts whose passion for boating and water sports is a key aspect of their lifestyle.

Rackspace is the world’s #1 provider of IT as a service in today’s multi-cloud world. It delivers expert advice and integrated managed services across public and private clouds, managed hosting, and enterprise applications. Rackspace partners with every leading technology provider, including Alibaba, AWS, Google, Microsoft, OpenStack, Oracle, SAP, and VMware. The company is therefore uniquely positioned to provide unbiased advice on which technologies will best serve each customer’s needs. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Rackspace serves more than 170,000 business customers from data centers on five continents.

The Challenge

As a public company and top manufacturer, Malibu Boats depends on the constant availability of its back-end applications. According to Greg Ward, VP of Information Systems and Technology at Malibu Boats, “If the technological systems go down, then our factory will shut down. If the factory shuts down, it’s going to cost us a lot of money on a daily basis.”

With such high stakes, Malibu Boats needed an enterprise-level disaster recovery solution that could achieve rapid recovery while also meeting their budgetary requirements. Unlike their current nearby secondary data center, they wanted a solution that would provide multi-regional resilience, which is critical in cases of weather-related outages. In addition, given that their long-term plan was to migrate their production servers to the cloud, they decided that implementing a cloud-based disaster recovery solution was a logical first step.

The Solution

Working closely with Rackspace, Ward looked for a cutting-edge, AWS-integrated disaster recovery solution that would meet all their requirements. “Rackspace helped us find CloudEndure, a company that was able to help us quickly and easily migrate our environment in a disaster recovery scenario to a cold storage in AWS,” explains Ward.

During the proof of concept (POC) with CloudEndure, Malibu Boats verified that their mission-critical applications could be replicated and recovered quickly into AWS without disruption or data loss. They also tested the solution’s ability to sync their replicated servers back to the data center, which worked seamlessly.

Given their tight budget, Malibu Boats was particularly impressed that CloudEndure’s architecture does not require duplicate provisioning of unnecessary hardware, expensive storage, and software licenses. CloudEndure continually replicates data into a low-cost, dormant “staging area,” comprised of minimal EC2 compute instances and low-cost EBS storage, allowing customers to launch fully provisioned applications using right-sized compute (EC2), storage (EBS), and networking into the cloud only when disaster strikes, or when performing a DR drill.

Soon after the POC, Malibu Boats decided to implement CloudEndure Disaster Recovery for their entire data center.

The Results

The timing of Malibu Boats’ new disaster recovery strategy couldn’t have been better. Just weeks after setting everything up, they suffered a potentially disastrous outage: a server that ran mission-critical applications went down.

During this disaster, CloudEndure’s point-in-time recovery feature proved to be essential. “The server went down due to some corruption,” explains Ward. “Using CloudEndure, we were able to roll back to a previous point, prior to the corruption, and in no time at all had everything back up and running [in AWS] in a good, solid, stable state.”

As a result of being able to recover within minutes, Ward reports, “production was able to keep going. We did not have to shut the factory down. It was fantastic.”

Once the corrupted server was fixed, Malibu Boats was able to failback to their data center quickly and easily. “One of the distinguishing features of CloudEndure was the ability to reverse sync,” says Ward. “Once we got everything resolved, we were able to go back to our environment with all of the updated changes that happened since the failover. That was a really powerful feature and we were happy to use it.”

Although the team at Malibu Boats had conducted a successful POC, they admitted to being taken aback by how well CloudEndure Disaster Recovery worked during an actual disaster. Ward reports: “I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly everything went. My colleagues were thrilled. The fact that it could come back up so quickly and so easily … helped lend validation to what we had set up in terms of infrastructure and backup policies.”

They were also surprised by the performance of their application in recovery mode on AWS. According to Ward, as soon as they failed over to AWS, they “quickly noticed that the performance of the server on the AWS environment was at least twice as fast as it was on our current data center environment, using the same hardware specifications, the same memory, and CPU, which was quite eye-opening and helped us to move forward our plans to a fuller presence in AWS and the cloud.”

Recommendation

Based on their first-hand experience using CloudEndure and AWS for disaster recovery scenarios, Malibu Boats is confident in the resilience of their IT environment. According to Ward, “With CloudEndure and AWS, being able to virtually recover something in minutes, as opposed to hours and hours, is a real lifesaver. The responsiveness from CloudEndure in getting our server back up and running properly was fantastic. If we didn’t have the ability to recover as quickly as we did, we would be dead in the water. CloudEndure and the ability to use some of these new technologies is a game changer.”

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