With its 130-year heritage, Henry Boot PLC, a group of companies, is one of the UK’s leading land promotion, property investment and development companies. The group is split into six primary businesses, with a common focus on empowering and developing people to create long-term value and sustainable growth for their stakeholders.
In recent years, IT at Henry Boot has evolved from primarily supporting back-office tasks to becoming the platform for the company’s entire operations. Business continuity relies on highly available IT systems and the ability to rapidly restore data and operations after any incident. However, Henry Boot’s ageing backup and recovery processes were slow and the solutions demanded high levels of maintenance, consuming valuable resources as well as potentially impacting productivity.
The company was using multiple ageing solutions to protect data across its diverse IT environment and any outage would impact its entire operations. Ensuring protection across the company’s diverse IT environment, including its HyperV virtualised platform, also meant that the IT team had to manage multiple solutions for backup and disaster recovery to ensure company data was fully protected.
“Our nightly backups could take as long as 20 hours to complete, affecting performance and the protection of data,” explained Daniel Dracup, IT Project Systems Manager at Henry Boot, “Our users need fast and responsive IT systems, so we decided to look for a solution that was easier to manage and consumed less bandwidth.”
Due to these issues Henry Boot decided to look for a single, more efficient solution. Softcat were engaged to assist in finding a solution and vendor who would meet the requirements.
Softcat assisted Henry Boot in reviewing the technologies available and looking at best practice strategies in this area. Henry Boot used Softcat to help them find a more robust and reliable data protection and disaster recovery solution. A short list of five suppliers was drawn up, before an Arcserve solution was chosen.
Arcserve gave Henry Boot a free trial. Daniel comments, “Arcserve helped us with our proof of concept and to migrate our data into the trial solution.”
The trial was a roaring success, as Paul Greenwood, IT Project Systems Engineer at Henry Boot, explains, “Seeing how efficiently Arcserve managed our data convinced us we’d found the right solution. The whole IT team found it easy to use and we could also see that it offered a robust disaster recovery solution.”
The company initially deployed two 16-terabyte 8300 Arcserve Appliances with one located at Henry Boot headquarters in Sheffield and the other at Henry Boot Construction’s head office in Dronfield. The project was a huge success, leading to a supplemental purchase of two 80-terabyte 8400 Arcserve Appliances to facilitate the protection of additional workloads, including Office 365.
The appliances make three to four incremental backups throughout the day and a full backup in the evening, taking just two hours instead of 20. The 145 terabytes of raw data are then deduplicated at a rate of 81% down to 28 terabytes, and is replicated between the main two sites for an added layer of protection. “With two Arcserve appliances on different sites, we can ensure continuity if any systems go down,” comments Daniel, “In fact, the recent additional purchases enabled an appliance for our London office, to ensure that our disaster recovery plan is completely failsafe.”
In addition to faster backup, the solution also enables data to be recovered more easily. Arcserve’s instant VM feature has already proven valuable to the company, allowing it to provide access to critical servers in less than five minutes from recovery points housed on the appliance datastore. This means the IT team can spend less time on backups and data recovery, to focus on more strategic activities.
With Arcserve, Henry Boot can backup and restore data quickly and efficiently with minimal involvement from the IT team. As such there is now a full disaster recovery solution to ensure business continuity for the long term.
Partnering with Arcserve and Softcat, has not only delivered more effective solutions for the short-term, it has enabled Henry Boot’s IT team to adopt a more strategic long-term approach. As Paul reveals, “The new capabilities offered by Arcserve led us to think more strategically about our data and systems and their long-term management and continuity.”
For example, the company now has different tiers of server according to business criticality. It has also brought its Office 365 data back in-house, replacing cloud-to-cloud backup and new requirements, such as GDPR compliance, so they can be more easily accommodated with the new solution.
With Arcserve Appliance, Henry Boot has been able to:
• Free up resources in the IT department
• Safeguard user productivity
• Build a roadmap for long-term data management
“Arcserve provides a fast and reliable solution for everyday needs and, more importantly, offers a long-term and agile solution to support future requirements,” concludes Daniel.
Prior to this project, Henry Boot had worked with Softcat to obtain various quotes for several adhoc IT requirements. Henry Boot approached Softcat to assist them in reviewing a particular technology as an alternative product to the current solution.
Softcat’s recommendation to discuss the project agnostically evolved into a strategic review of the project priorities. Softcat aligned a dedicated specialist team who supported Henry Boot in narrowing down the relevant options, for an alternative solution. Softcat’s knowledge and relationship with Arcserve, alongside the strength of Arcserve’s proposition, streamlined the process for Henry Boot in selecting Arcserve for the final solution.