Goodwill Industries Chooses an Easily Tested Disaster Recovery Solution

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana Chooses an Easily Tested Disaster Recovery Solution That Stays in Sync with Production

Four years ago, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana needed a disaster recovery (DR) plan. In fact, they spent nearly $250,000 building a traditional DR solution that would adequately protect their critical applications. Initial tests that year were successful. The next year, however, after a change in personnel, they had to spend two months preparing for the test. Then the following year, after another change in personnel (unrelated to DR challenges) they still had to spend months preparing for the test.

In the meantime, both environments needed to be kept in sync. When a capital investment was required in production, a similar investment was required in the DR environment. When a change was made to production, it had to be carried out in the DR environment as well. Staff members were spending too much time managing two environments.

“The problem with traditional disaster recovery solutions is that there has to be very stringent change control or management of the disaster recovery environment to ensure alignment with changes in production,” explains Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana SVP of Corporate Connectivity and CIO Jeff Ton.

“The traditional solutions we used were put in place at a point in time,”Ton continued, “We tested those systems when they were built, and they worked. But, because they weren’t actively managed with the same level of detail the production infrastructure was on a day-to-day basis, they quickly grew to be outdated and unreliable.”

Production vs. Recovery

As in most companies, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana’s IT department has critical business initiatives to support. Nearly 98% of all daily activities and priorities should be focused on the systems and infrastructure to support those initiatives. Their staff can’t support the recovery environment in the same way it supports its production environment because that would pull nearly half their efforts away from supporting the business and its strategic, revenue-producing objectives. Therefore, the recovery environment grows more and more out of sync with the production environment each day, which decreases the likelihood of a smooth and successful recovery.

When Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana’s original investment in their DR environment was depreciated and they needed to upgrade the environment, they knew they not only needed to try something different, they also needed to implement a successful disaster recovery solution that wouldn’t require a high level of manual upkeep and could be easily tested throughout the year.

Already hosting several production applications in Bluelock’s cloud-based Virtual Datacenters, Ton was intrigued by Bluelock’s Recovery-as-a-Service solution because of its dynamic nature and ability to keep the recovery environment in sync with the production environment on a continuous basis without requiring manual work from his team.

“With Bluelock Recovery-as-a-Service our focus can remain on solving our customers problems and enabling the business,” explains Ton. “This DR solution ensures any changes we make to the production environment are immediately replicated to the recovery environment, so as we grow, it grows. It provides us with the agility and elasticity we need.”

Hybrid Infrastructure Requires an Agile Network

Goodwill’s infrastructure architecture takes a truly hybrid approach, leveraging public cloud, private cloud and an internal datacenter. Their hybrid infrastructure demands the dynamic capabilities that RaaS brings to the table, but when implementing the solution, they realized they were going to hit a bottleneck with their traditional network connections.

“We could see the value Recovery-as-a-Service was going to bring our environment, but with traditional networking, it was going to take our team months to achieve full value as we initialized and stabilized replication,” explained Ton.

To implement a Recovery-as-a-Service solution with a dynamic networking component, Ton turned to tw telecom and their Intelligent Network. The Intelligent Network, specifically dynamic capacity, gives users a scalable, private network solution in which users can turn the bandwidth up or down when needed, paying only for what they use, and allowing those previous traffic bottlenecks to flow freely. The solution enables fast replication to the recovery target to seed the initial environment and speedy failback after a disaster.

Instead of taking months to fully seed and replicate the recovery environment, it only took a week. Because both Recovery-as-a- Service and the Intelligent Network operate with pay-as-you-go principles, Ton’s team wasn’t stuck paying for more network than they needed to get the job done after those high-use time periods.

Seamless, Successful Results

Goodwill’s goal was to protect several critical applications. They implemented Bluelock Recovery-as-a-Service with the tw telecom Intelligent Networking solution, replicated and tested and were so happy with the results that they nearly immediately opted to increase their RaaS footprint by eight times, protecting dozens of applications. Because the recovery environment is pay-as-you-go, with Goodwill paying primarily only for storage outside of declared disaster events, the value they receive far outweighs the cost of protecting the additional applications.

When their recovery environment footprint increased by eight times, they noticed that their bill did not. In fact, their bill at the end of the month only increased by about two times. Because the mechanisms were already in place to replicate to the recovery environment, the value they achieved was able to grow at a faster rate than the pay- as-you-go costs associated with that rate of growth.

Ton and his team plan to leverage tw telecom Intelligent Network’s scalable, pay-as-you-go capabilities in the future when running larger data pushes and updates to their production infrastructure, as well as when those changes need to replicate to the recovery environment. In the past, those updates and data pushes would have bottlenecked the network and degraded overall performance.

“Bluelock’s Recovery-as-a-Service plus tw telecom’s Intelligent Network has finally solved our disaster recovery problem not just for right now, but for the future as well,” explained Ton. “Unlike the previous solutions we used, with RaaS we don’t have to worry that it won’t work a year from now. We have confidence that our recovery plan will work when we need it, no matter what.”

Learn More About Bluelock Recovery-as-a-Service

If your business is tired of the exorbitant costs and limitations of traditional disaster recovery solutions that leverage traditional networking, contact Bluelock to find out how simple and affordable it can be to modernize your disaster recovery solution and regain control of your applications. Learn more about Bluelock Recovery-as-a-Service to find out how you can guarantee your applications and data are protected in a simple and affordable way.

About Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana is a social enterprise that offers opportunities, provides services, and leverages its resources with those of others to improve the education, skills, employability, and economic self-sufficiency of adults and the future employability of young people. Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana serves 29 counties within approximately a 70-mile radius around Indianapolis.