REVIEWER: Geoff Belair, IT director, Westland Insurance.
BACKGROUND: Westland Insurance is comprised of two core business units, an insurance brokerage and an insurance company. The insurance brokerage, founded in 1980, is one of the largest community-based independent insurance brokerages in British Columbia, providing insurance services to more than 175,000 customers through 25 retail offices. The insurance company, created in June of 1998, delivers residential and commercial insurance products exclusively through Westland's brokerage network.
PLATFORMS: Windows XP, Windows 2003.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Westland is located within an earthquake zone that threatens day-to-day operations and the service the company provides its customers. During an evaluation of the existing infrastructure and governmental audits, Westland identified four mission-critical applications that must remain available to employees at all times: Microsoft Exchange, Westland's wide area network (WAN), an in-house built enterprise insurance system and an in-house built archiving system. In order to provide an alternate site not affected by earthquakes and related natural disasters, Westland selected a secondary site in Calgary, Alberta. In an effort to streamline internal processes and better manage documentation across several channels, Westland has become a digitally enabled company that relies on its email environment. In addition, Westland has digitized its faxing system.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With Neverfail for Microsoft Exchange, the information within Westland's Exchange environment is continuously replicated from the on-site primary Exchange Server to a secondary server that needed not be identical or close in proximity to the primary. In the event of a failure on the primary server, Neverfail automatically initiates a seamless failover to the secondary server and alerts Westland's IT department of the issue. Once the issue is resolved, Neverfail automatically switches back over to the primary server, returning the secondary server to a dormant state. Automatic and manual switchovers enable Westland to manage the solution as they see fit and meet their availability requirements in the event of required maintenance and unforeseen disturbances.
STRENGTHS: Neverfail manages by exception by operating without the users' knowledge. Should a failover scenario initialize, users are seamlessly reconnected to their applications without requiring them to restart their email clients. Westland's vision of centralized management included the ability to service all 25 locations from one point. Neverfail does exactly that.
WEAKNESSES: On rare occasions, certain types of files cannot be protected and replicated by Neverfail. Neverfail flags these items and sends a notification report to IT staff. However, if the file has been moved, deleted or hidden, Westland must determine the cause of the replication failure.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Westland Insurance sought a disaster recovery solution that was cost-effective, easy to configure out of the box, easy to manage and geographically clustered. While several vendors offered some of these requirements, Neverfail was the best overall fit. Also, while researching high-availability vendors, Neverfail was the only one that came via word of mouth. For Westland, a personal endorsement from a respected colleague spoke volumes about the product.
DELIVERABLES: With Neverfail in place, many of the costs typically associated with disaster-recovery testing and planning scenarios have been reduced. Neverfail's solutions proactively alert the company's IT department if potential issues arise, operate under the radar while performing day-to-day tasks and seamlessly failover Westland's mission-critical systems when tested.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Neverfail has provided excellent support throughout the entire process. When issues arise, Neverfail responds with thorough problem-solving instructions typically within an hour via email. Engineers that assisted in the initial installation have also been available by phone.
DOCUMENTATION: Neverfail's customer portal allows for efficient searches and up-to-date information that is thorough and easy to manage.
Neverfail for Microsoft Exchange
Neverfail Group Inc.
3839 Bee Caves Road
Austin, TX 78746
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