Dairylea Cooperative Inc.
As the largest milk-marketing organization in the Northeastern United States, Dairylea represents more than 2000 dairy farms that sell more than 6.0 billion pounds of raw milk annually. With more than 100 years of service, Dairylea is a collection of more than a dozen business units, offering everything from laboratory testing to Farm Insurance. With a diverse range of members and offerings, IT is at the heart of Dairylea’s success.
BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Technology Refresh, Disaster Recovery, and Data Consolidation
Dairylea’s aging infrastructure consisted of three HP EVA storage arrays for their VMware environment, running over 100 applications critical to Dairylea’s business units. While the production environment was stable and meeting the requirements, backup and disaster recovery had been a significant challenge for many years. Continued weekly backup failures and the recognition that recovery from a disaster could take over 48 hours compelled the IT team to seek a replacement to their overall backup and DR approach.
Jeremy Wheeler, Dairylea’s Innovation Architect, and his team spent months looking for a cost-effective solution that would allow the company to better protect critical data and deliver RPOs of less than 24 hours and RTOs of less than 4 hours in the event of a significant outage or disaster in the primary environment. Given a limited staff, Dairylea needed to ensure that the solution would be simple to manage, and provide a straightforward failover process in the event of a real outage. Given cost constraints, Dairylea needed the solution to be bandwidth efficient and deliver replication without impacting users of the production application environment.
For the data protection initiative, Wheeler and his staff deeply evaluated EMC Avamar for virtual machine backup and EMC Data Domain for the backup storage. The high cost and still overly complex integration with their existing environment compelled Wheeler to continue the search. Wheeler’s team was not satisfied with incremental improvements and sought a solution that could truly make an impact on their operations.
Multi-Site, Complete Infrastructure Platform
While analyzing the Avamar-EMC Data Domain solution, Wheeler was introduced to SimpliVity through a business partner. Having spent over 20 years evaluating new technologies, Wheeler immediately realized that OmniCube was a unique and significantly differentiated offering that had the potential to radically improve not just data protection, but the entire IT environment. OmniCube’s simplified VM-centric backup and disaster recovery clearly exceeded Dairylea’s objectives:
- Backup duration from 8-10 hours to less than one minute
- Replication-enabled DR protection for all applications
- Recovery point (RPO) can be reduced to minutes and can be tuned per application
- Recovery time (RTO) reduced from 48 hours or more to less than one hour
However, the recognition that he could economically replace his entire infrastructure while improving these backup and DR results was what led to his selection of OmniCube within days of first discovering the product. During the evaluation, Wheeler and team were impressed with OmniCube’s comprehensive set of attributes:
- All-in-one infrastructure solution, delivering primary server-SAN functionality in addition to backup, WAN optimization, and replication-enabled DR
- Simplified lego-like incremental scale out of compute, performance and capacity
- Unified VM-centric visibility and management of all VMs and the infrastructure
- Include fully integrated data efficiency with deduplication, compression, and optimization
- Support quick and simple deployment
- Radical cost savings
“After months of analyzing alternative infrastructure solutions, we discovered SimpliVity’s OmniCube and were quickly convinced. We recognized that SimpliVity’s innovative data architecture would offer superior functionality while allowing us to significantly reduce costs. Within 12 days, we decided to standardize on OmniCube for all of our virtualized workloads, and purchased our first six systems,” Wheeler says.
Dairylea replaced SAN environments at two sites with four OmniCube CN-3000s in its production environment in Syracuse, New York and two redundant OmniCube CN-3000s in its backup data center 60 miles away in Ithaca, New York. This solution enabled the company to implement a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy with flexible, hourly RPOs and low RTOs at a much lower price than it would have cost to buy and deploy a traditional backup system. Recovery time is now measured in minutes—in the event of an outage, a full VM can be restored or a failover to the backup data center can be initiated with just a few mouse clicks if needed. Because OmniCube combines server and storage in one device, Dairylea is repurposing the old servers from the primary data center to be used in the backup data center. And, Wheeler noted, Dairylea is more confident in its failover and recovery process because with OmniCube makes it quick and simple to test restores of any application at any time.
“With OmniCube, we can backup and recover applications in minutes now. This is a huge improvement,” said Jeremy Wheeler, Innovation Architect, Dairylea. “Our biggest VM is 1.5TB and it was taking 48 hours to backup, now with OmniCube it’s taking less than 60 seconds to backup and our recovery time objectives are even faster in under 60 seconds. If you are looking for VM Backup, or DR, or storage, sit through a demo with SimpliVity because probably for the equivalent cost of what you would pay for any one of those you’re going to get all three plus some compute power on top of it, and it’s just a really, really full-featured product.”
Wheeler’s evaluation and implementation results clearly illustrate how SimpliVity’s OmniCube represents a new era of convergence—one that goes beyond server and storage infrastructure to include the full scope of infrastructure functionality required for the modern IT organization. Dairylea is taking advantage of the functionality that is unavailable from competing “hyperconverged” infrastructure offerings, benefiting from OmniCube’s native multi-site data protection and disaster recovery capabilities that are VM-centric, policy-based, and automated. The entire solution, spanning Dairylea’s Syracuse and Ithaca data centers, is managed centrally through VMware vCenter, further simplifying the management of the entire infrastructure stack.
Powering OmniCube is an entirely new data architecture which performs inline, accelerated deduplication and compression on all data at inception making it the most efficient platform for virtualized environments on the market today.
Key benefits include:
- RTO reduced from days to minutes
- Comprehensive VM backup and recovery at an affordable price
- Streamlined deployment and implementation frees up IT staff
- Easy restore and failover testing ensures recovery will be successful
- Low-impact active-active structure that doesn’t slow production system