Media company Strata has achieved near-zero recovery times and the confidence of knowing that its mission-critical systems are protected by a Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS).
Just a few years ago, Strata, like many organisations, did not have an effective disaster recovery plan in place. The Chicago-based company, whose software helps clients buy and sell more than $50 billion in advertising space across print, broadcast, outdoor and digital media each year, had started out by developing and selling software through a traditional on-premise model. As Strata’s technology evolved, its business shifted to delivering services over servers that ran in a remote office, but those servers were vulnerable to power outages whenever a strong thunderstorm rolled through.
Those outages prompted Strata to move its servers to the corporate office in Chicago, where the company thought they would be more secure. That led to the creation of a large, centralised data centre, which meant Strata needed a disaster recovery plan.
The company started by working with iland to set up its SAN replication, which could fail over to iland’s SAN infrastructure. Next, Strata started using iland for standby resources, which allowed Strata to get its feet wet with a disaster recovery plan at a reasonable cost.
As Mike Dehler, Vice President of Technical Infrastructure at Strata explains. “It was a good way to try out disaster recovery because we didn’t have to make an outlay for equipment.”
Some companies prefer to keep disaster recovery in-house instead of outsourcing to a specialty provider. Strata has its own production data centre, but replicating it to a secondary site would have been cost and personnel prohibitive. By choosing iland, Strata doesn’t have to worry about the personnel requirements, maintenance or upgrades at another data centre hundreds of miles from its main office.
“This deployment generated a number of requests on our end,” said Dehler. “After it was originally scoped out, little things popped up, and we needed things added here and there. After the initial deployment, iland worked with us to reconfigure a few things in order for the DR solution to work with the new network we have. We ended up needing to get the network expanded to accommodate a large amount of servers. iland’s support team was there to help us out all the way. I always get a good response from iland and good follow up.”
Where they are today is on the leading edge of disaster recovery, but it took the hard lessons of some other companies to get Strata there. Superstorm Sandy, the 2012 hurricane that wreaked havoc up and down the East Coast of the United States and particularly in New York and New Jersey, showed just how vulnerable many companies’ data centres were to an outage. It inspired Strata to install a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.
Working with iland, Strata has evolved its disaster recovery strategy to allow self-activation and self-testing at any time. It is an extremely sophisticated strategy that that puts them in control and protects the bulk of Strata’s machines. As Dehler concludes. “The tests have consistently achieved a near-zero recovery time objective, and they give us peace of mind to know it’s ready should a real disaster occur.”