Case Study: Strategic Business Insights
May 18, 2017
Strategic Business Insights, or SBI, is the former Business Intelligence division of SRI International, the folk that invented the first computer mouse. Headquartered in Silicon Valley (Menlo Park California) — with offices in Japan, the United Kingdom, and New Jersey—SBI has a global reach that works across a wide range of government and business sectors, including electronics, health care, energy, and financial services. Jon Hammar has been the IT Manager in charge of protecting their data for the last twenty years.
Jon and SBI have relied on Retrospect as a core component during those years and Jon kindly agreed to let us interview him to find out how he uses Retrospect - and how he plans on incorporating Backblaze and the Backblaze B2 service that Retrospect recently supports.
Aside from SBI’s desktop machines, Jon uses Retrospect to protect their outward facing servers, notably their web server with over 40,000 documents. According to Jon, “these servers require a fairly high uptime” and need to be available 24x7. Jon uses both traditional backup scripts and also duplicate scripts with the replace if source is newer option to avoid copying files that are already present.
For an IT manager, it is good to have a strategy with multiple layers.
Jon recognizes the importance of having both an onsite and offsite solution however. “For an IT manager, it is good to have a strategy with multiple layers.”
Offsite storage in the cloud has a number of advantages. Jon says that, “in the case of a cryptovirus, having a secure link to B2 may be your last line of defense that saves your company.”
Solution & Benefit
Retrospect’s support of B2 is spectacular for us.
Initially, Jon was using Rackspace for SBI’s cloud offsite solution, then he switched to Google. But when Retrospect announced their support for Backblaze’s B2 storage system, Jon was ecstatic: “Retrospect’s support of B2 is spectacular for us.” Backblaze’s B2 infrastructure was the right mix of features and functionality with a great price.
In initial tests of Retrospect and B2, Jon has already backed up over 4TB of data over a medium size pipe of 50 Mbps. When he rolls this out officially, Jon is planning on backing up initially to local disk, then using Retrospect’s snapshot transfer scripts to upload those backups to B2. This keeps the backup window down and reduces the performance hit to machines being backed up.
Jon also plans on using Backblaze’s desktop product for remote offices alongside of Retrospect. “It isn’t just the cost savings, the Backblaze desktop product is great for small-office scenarios.”
The cost savings of Backblaze do make a difference however. I had asked Jon if he plans on using Retrospect’s grooming feature to groom out older backups in the cloud, but he said they “prefer to back up as much as possible as often as possible. We do use grooming locally, but due to the affordability of B2, it isn’t as critical.”
Retrospect and the Competition
Retrospect continues to be Jon’s backup solution of choice. Aside from Retrospect features such as encrypted backup sets and being able to have local as well as offsite backups, Jon relies on Retrospect’s scripting abilities.
We looked at other products. Acronis does not have the scripting capabilities of Retrospect. They are so bulky it is almost unusable. They also have scalability issues about duplicating from one server to another. Veam does the server one to server two perfectly, but doesn’t do other things. Retrospect does the job for us. We just need you guys to back up Hypervisor and we will be set!
We have some good news for Jon there!
JG Heithcock is CEO of Retrospect, Inc. and has eighteen years experience in the storage and backup industry.