Birmingham was established more than 150 years ago at the crossing of two railroad lines near one of the world’s richest deposits of iron ore, coal and limestone. Mining defined the city in the mid 1800s, but over time Birmingham transformed into a powerful banking and business center. Today several Fortune 500 and 1000 companies are based in the city including Regions Financial Corporation and Vulcan Materials.
Birmingham fosters city growth through a progressive business climate. One example is the city’s website, which makes it easy for companies to apply for business licenses, pay for building permits and file taxes. The website streamlines city services for residents too. They can pay parking tickets online, check trash pick-up schedules and submit city-related questions to an online customer service portal. Like most cities, Birmingham also provides police protection and fire and rescue services.
All city services are supported by a modern IT infrastructure. Key applications support fiscal processes, geographical mapping and records management in the police and fire departments.
“The continual operation of city services is clearly paramount, which means we have to have complete confidence in our ability to back up and recover every application supporting every city service,” said Darryl Burroughs, Deputy CIO of Infrastructure Operations for the City of Birmingham. “When we began to lose confidence in our legacy backup solutions, we immediately searched for a replacement.”
David McDonald, Systems Administrator for the City of Birmingham, said there were two solutions. Networker backed up a NAS device comprised of file shares including police and fire records. Unitrends backed up applications.
“Networker backed up the network-attached storage (NAS) device perfectly fine, but Networker isn’t storage neutral, so we couldn’t transition to new storage because we’d be unable to recover data,” McDonald said. “Clearly we have to be able to recover data because it includes police and fire records.”
McDonald said the challenge with Unitrends was different.
“Unitrends had become unreliable and inconsistent, requiring one of our colleagues to spend two to three days each week managing backups. User documentation was dated, so he spent many hours on the phone with tech support — with no results, even after multiple patches and upgrades. Like many city governments, we run thin on personnel, so having someone spend that much time troubleshooting backups was impractical.”
Birmingham considered three replacements for Networker and Unitrends: Avamar, Commvault and Veeam® Availability Suite™.
“Our requirements were simplicity, flexibility and affordability,” McDonald said. “Simplicity to save on administrative time, flexibility in backup storage and affordability because every city must be cost conscious. Veeam was the only solution to meet all three requirements, and when we compared Veeam pricing to Commvault, Veeam was $50,000 less expensive.”