As its business grew, CGS realized that maintaining a secondary data center for disaster recovery purposes wasn’t a cost-effective strategy for long-term growth. To support its cloud platform that hosts enterprise resource planning (ERP), virtual desktop, and IaaS services, CGS turned to CloudEndure Disaster Recovery for a more efficient, cloud-based disaster recovery solution for its hundreds of mission-critical servers.
When the secondary disaster recovery facility is officially decommissioned in favor of CloudEndure Disaster Recovery into AWS, CGS will decrease its annual disaster recovery expenses by 50% – eliminating the costs of duplicate management overhead, connectivity, software licensing, hardware, and more.
CGS is a business applications, enterprise learning, and outsourcing services company. Headquartered in New York City, CGS employs more than 7,500 professionals across the globe. The application solutions division includes two enterprise resource planning (ERP) practices and a technology solutions practice.
Until recently, CGS implemented disaster recovery through a secondary colocation data center on the West Coast. However, as its business scaled, CGS had to keep buying duplicate hardware, software, and connectivity resources for the secondary location, as well as additional cloud compute resources — all of which might never actually be used.
As a result, Michael Brandi, VP of the Technology Solutions Division, and a team of five managers and technical employees started looking for a cloud-based disaster recovery model that could give CGS the cost efficiency and flexibility of a more on-demand experience.
With hundreds of mission-critical servers, the team could not afford to compromise on a solution. The environment included Microsoft Dynamics ERP applications and ERP software built on Microsoft .NET, SQL Server, and IIS, using various clustering technologies. They needed a good automation engine for VM provisioning, continuous data replication, and integration with AWS services.
According to Brandi, the team “looked at many disaster recovery solutions, but couldn’t find a product that not only replicated data, but also rapidly orchestrated the provisioning of virtual machines in the event of a disaster, until we came across CloudEndure.”
The fact that CloudEndure Disaster Recovery offered automated orchestration and machine conversion to AWS, along with continuous data replication, automated failback, and no disk size limitations, convinced Brandi to set up a proof of concept (POC).
Brandi explains, “The best way for us to test was to use a client in the process of implementing our ERP platform. These were real servers that weren’t in full production yet. Testing with these servers covered all the different aspects of our needs, from clustering to shared disks to anything else that was configured for the client. We replicated to AWS using CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, and tested networking, failover, and automation — and everything went well. That was when we decided to become a customer.”
With the main goal of decommissioning the secondary data center, CGS has replicated hundreds of client servers in AWS using CloudEndure Disaster Recovery. Brandi reports, “We’re moving forward with replication on a client-by-client basis. As we phase out clients, we decommission their replicas in the secondary facility. When we’ve replicated all of the clients in AWS with CloudEndure, we can start to decommission the facility and realize the cost savings we are looking for.”
Brandi estimates that when “the software costs of CloudEndure and AWS are compared to CGS’s current DR solution, CGS can save 50% of its DR costs annually with the new cloud-based disaster recovery solution.”
During disaster recovery drills it has already implemented, CGS has seen a significant reduction in recovery time — from 4 hours with the physical secondary location to just about 1 hour with CloudEndure. According to Brandi, “Orchestration of the cloud replica — the provisioning and creation of virtual machines — is the real game changer from CloudEndure. No one in the market has a product that’s even close from that perspective.”
Not only has CGS benefited from fast, scalable, and cost-efficient disaster recovery, but their customers will now also get to enjoy the advantages of CloudEndure Disaster Recovery. As Brandi explains, “We were so impressed with CloudEndure’s DR solution that we decided to incorporate it into our cloud services offerings.”
When looking for a disaster recovery vendor, Brandi recommends that you “Look at all of the features and ask each vendor to show you how the solution handles databases, clusters, physical and virtual machines, large disk sizes, and failback. Most vendors will say they have a solution, but it’s often not as elegant as you would expect. Seeing how the process actually occurs in a demo or POC is critical.”
And for companies who choose to deploy disaster recovery in the cloud, Brandi suggests that you test your failover regularly: “You’ll find that there may be a few gaps when you initially failover from a network configuration, whether it’s how you handle IP addresses or certain firewall rules, so you need to go through an end-to-end test.”