Florida knows hurricanes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 69 hurricanes have hit Florida since recordkeeping began. Six of the nine most powerful hurricanes in U.S. history made landfall in Florida.
Hurricane season lasts half the year for Floridians—from June through November. When first responders drop everything to help during hurricane season, someone has to take care of their children. In Tampa Bay, many of their children go to R’Club Child Care, Inc.
R’Club fosters the healthy development of children by focusing on the four Rs: respect, responsibility, resourcefulness and responsiveness. Responsiveness extends to R’Club’s IT infrastructure too.
“We can’t operate our child care centers without fully responding IT,” said Michael Brunner, IT Coordinator for R’Club. “When we’re called on to step up during a natural disaster, our IT systems cannot fail. If they do fail, we can’t stay operational, and we fail to serve our first responders, their children and our community.”
To keep IT systems running 24.7.365—even during a hurricane—R’Club deployed Veeam® Availability Suite™ on site for fast backup and recovery. A network-attached storage (NAS) device transferred backup copies off site to a service provider. If R’Club’s data center was swept away by a hurricane, the service provider could restore data through Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS).
In theory, R’Club’s plan was solid. In practice, transferring backup copies to the service provider was error-prone, making recovery unreliable. It might take hours or days to restore critical IT systems, and R’Club couldn’t take that risk. R’Club had made a commitment to take care of first responders’ children so they can take care of the community.
“One of our most critical systems is email,” Brunner said. “If email fails and we can’t recover it quickly from a backup, staying in touch with parents and staff becomes a major issue. Email must be available 24.7.365, especially during a hurricane.” R’Club followed the example set by first responders: Act fast.
R’Club didn’t have to look far to find a solution. Veeam offers a fast, secure and reliable way to back up, replicate and restore from the cloud. It’s called Veeam Cloud Connect, and it lets Veeam customers point their backups or replicas to a service provider’s cloud.
R’Club chose iland, a well-respected platinum Veeam cloud service provider and an expert in disaster recovery (DR).
Using the Veeam console, R’Club replicates virtual machines (VMs) supporting critical IT systems to iland’s secure cloud. If a hurricane destroys R’Club’s data center, iland will trigger a failover so R’Club can access critical IT systems in minutes.
“Veeam and iland help us honor our commitment to first responders by delivering 24.7.365 Availability of our IT systems, enabling us to stay open in a crisis and care for first responders’ children,” Brunner said.
R’Club considered mimicking its previous setup (transferring backup copies offsite) but decided replication was the better route. Replication enables DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS), letting iland restore R’Club’s IT systems quickly, including email.
Transferring backups offsite enables BaaS, which recovers data. That’s why it took so long for R’Club to recover IT systems with its previous setup. R’Club had to restore data and systems manually.
“Veeam and iland provide us with our first all-inclusive DR strategy,” Brunner said. “Plus, periodic DR tests give us confidence we can recover quickly in a real disaster. We’ve never had this level of business continuity before.”
Veeam and iland provide R’Club with an additional benefit: They save money. Veeam Cloud Connect requires no additional charge or licensing and iland’s pricing includes ongoing storage costs but no CPU or memory fees until a failover occurs.
“As a non-profit organization, we don’t have funds to spare,” Brunner said. “We prefer to invest our resources in our programs and in our community. Veeam and iland help us do that by giving us a more cost-effective DR plan and a new level of business continuity.”