Specialty Bakers, Inc., based in Marysville, Pa. has been in business since 1901 and is best known for its Ladyfingers. When the company needed a new solution to backup mission-critical applications, IT Director Jack Eckerd tells IncTechnology.com that a disk imaging solution helped reduce downtime during outages and enabled speedier recovery.
Elizabeth Wasserman: What type of data does your business keep?
Jack Eckerd: We rely on e-mail communications internally and externally to our clients, vendors and staff with an Exchange server. Other systems include production data, production schedules, accounting data and an EDI system. We also have an HR and Payroll system. We operate a SQL server as our primary database server. We keep a variety of data throughout the organization. We have 100 workstations in the network and 13 production servers.
Wasserman: Why did you decide to get a new backup system?
Eckerd: We used to backup onto tape. As our data grew and our backup windows became smaller this solution was too slow. Initially we focused on the workstation level to capture local data. Backing up workstations across the network to tape was incredibly slow and restoration was even slower. Sometimes, just to recover a file, it would take hours. We researched various products on the Internet and found Acronis True Image. This software was more intuitive, easier to use, and extremely reliable. It proved to be much faster and it restored files in minutes as opposed to hours. We eventually installed it on all our workstations. The success on our workstations prompted us to experiment with our servers, as well. The server edition of the product proved to be as dependable as the workstation edition. We’ve stayed with this product through many version upgrades.
Wasserman: How does it work?
Eckerd: This solution is fully automated. Images are scheduled and run during off peak usage times. Even if an end user powers off their workstation we utilize the wake on LAN feature within the product to complete our images over night. It takes an image of the entire hard drive or a partition of the hard drive. The current version allows us to image down to the folder level. These images allows for the backup of all the data and the ease of restoration. The software also allows us to stop services, create an image and restart services on our servers so there are no open file conflicts. And it’s fully-automated, too. It’s not something we have to attend or watch.
Wasserman: What have the results been?
Eckerd: From my teams’ time, the backups are fully automated, so we’re spending less time managing backups. There are no tapes to change. The time difference to restore lost data is much less. We have a small IT staff. We only have three in our department. This solution allows us more time for project work and help desk. It gives faster response times so we aren’t spending as much time on backup. The software does also play a vital role in our disaster recovery plan. We’re very confident we can get the data from that image if we need to.