REVIEWER: Jay Wessel, senior director of technology for the Boston Celtics.
BACKGROUND: Since 1946, the Boston Celtics have won a record 16 NBA Championships, including eight in a row from 1959-1966, and have won NBA titles in three different eras. The Celtics have 75 employees at their corporate office in Boston and in Waltham, Massachusetts.
PLATFORMS: Our critical systems consist of an Exchange server, two SQL servers, a file server and a statistical scouting database, spanning our Boston and Waltham offices and a remote data center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
PROBLEM SOLVED: In the NBA world, success isn't just about winning championships, it is also about balancing cash flows, managing profitability, analyzing statistics and doing everything possible - from an information standpoint - to stay competitive. With the help of a sophisticated statistical scouting database, we can evaluate our own players' performances as well as the competition's performance on a day-to-day basis. With many vital business processes to manage, our staff would be lost without access to critical data and applications. As such, we feared an emergency where the systems in Boston or Waltham went down and the staff was unable to analyze statistics, send emails and conduct business as usual. Until January 2003, we had been backing up data to tape on a nightly basis, scheduling the data copying for a time when users were not online. However, we became concerned that this dependency on tape backup and day-old data would prove disastrous during an outage. We needed a streamlined data environment that would ensure 24x7 reliability, real-time recovery, centralized disaster recovery and centralized administration. We treat Double-Take like insurance. While we haven't had to use it yet, in an emergency situation we expect that it will help to reduce recovery time from days to just an hour.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: After considering several solutions, Microsoft recommended we look at Double-Take, which became the clear choice. It continuously captures and replicates changes to data files at the byte level as they occur. Furthermore, it provides failover capabilities that enable businesses to quickly resume operations after a disaster or system outage — without the time and complexities of restoring from tape. We use Double-Take to ensure statistical analysis, financial transactions and email communications continue in an emergency. The product's failover capabilities allow us to access both our data and applications from the disaster recovery facility in Manchester so we can continue to work seamlessly.
STRENGTHS: We were struck by how easy Double-Take was to use and yet how sophisticated the technology was. It lived up to our expectations, offering solid reliability, sleek design and dependability. What's more, it gives us peace of mind.
WEAKNESSES: Double-Take's one weakness is its resource requirement - specifically, the CPU toll on the server on which it runs. In the rare situation that we experience unusual amounts of load on our systems, we do notice that Double-Take consumes additional server resources. However, Double-Take is able to keep up easily with the amount of data change during this period, and the resource consumption returns to normal once the "peak" in our system usage passes.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed a solution that would be rock solid and integrate with our current Exchange and Windows environments.
DELIVERABLES: The most important output that Double-Take provides us with is an up-to-date, usable copy of our critical data replicated 24x7 to our recovery site. Periodic data audits confirm that the replication is continuously working. In addition, Double-Take provides detailed event, alerting and reporting information in regard to the status of replication and the integrity of our data at all times.
VENDOR SUPPORT: With the help of professional services, the Double-Take implementation was much simpler than we had expected for a full-fledged disaster recovery solution. Within two days, our staff and professional services team had set up Double-Take on the Celtics' Exchange and SQL servers, file server and statistical scouting databases. They also helped us set up our remote data center in Manchester. The team was excellent to work with.
DOCUMENTATION: Double-Take is easy to use and far exceeded our expectations.
257 Turnpike Road
Southborough, MA 01772
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