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Case Study: Construction Materials Company

International Construction Materials Group Frees Up IT Resources by using Commvault Remote Managed Services

Challenges

  • Multiple, disparate backup solutions were unreliable and difficult to manage
  • Desire to avoid massive capital expenditures by moving to managed services model
  • Need to archive data to Microsoft Azure for long-term retention
  • Greater visibility needed to boost SLAs and auditing requirements

Solutions

  • Commvault software, including Archive to Microsoft Azure, delivered directly as Remote Managed Services.

Benefits

  • 98.3% backup success rate while the number of jobs spiked from 3,600 to nearly 60,000 over 12 months
  • Managed services reduce capital expenditures, remove administrative pressures
  • Commvault RMS serves as extension of internal IT team, empowering a focus on more strategic IT innovations that drive business success
  • KPIs inform technology roadmap, offer auditors better business insights
Construction Materials Company Logo

Industry: Construction and Engineering

Our challenges were unique but not exclusive, so we sought the best solution with the best team to maintain it. This decision ultimately has enabled IT to deliver more value to the organization as a business partner.

Peter Tai
Senior Manager of Enterprise Infrastructure for the North American division.

An international building products and construction materials group based in Australia, with a North American division that specializes in building products and fly ash, gained access to world-class data management capabilities led by Commvault Remote Managed Services as the result of an acquisition. Moving to a managed services model for backup, recovery and archiving was a no-brainer, according to Peter Tai, senior manager of Enterprise Infrastructure for the North American division.

“We didn’t want to be in the backup business,” recalls Tai. “Our challenges were unique but not exclusive, so we sought the best solution with the best team to maintain it. This decision ultimately has enabled IT to deliver more value to the organization as a business partner.”

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Technology Decision Becomes Business Imperative

Under Tai’s expanded leadership, a dozen IT experts support compute, storage and network connectivity for approximately 4,000 employees in North America. His team also collaborates with the 60-person corporate IT group worldwide to ensure all 8,000 global employees have access to mission-critical systems, applications and data. When prioritizing data integrity, Tai took a page from his playbook during a previous tenure prior to the acquisition, where he replaced a half-dozen disparate and poorly performing backup and recovery solutions—including Veeam, Veritas and Microsoft DPM—with a single solution from Commvault, delivered directly by the award-winning software provider as a managed service.

The goal: Mitigate the risk of data loss and bolster regulatory compliance while avoiding massive capital expenditures on backup and recovery-related hardware and software. Equally important was the objective to elevate operational efficiencies through the use of managed services. “We see data protection as a utility—like electricity, air conditioning, gas, water and other core services you need to run a business,” explains Tai. “It’s absolutely something you need to operate and be successful.”

To that end, Tai’s team conducted an impact analysis to quantify data losses in terms of revenue, productivity, labor, sales, customer satisfaction and more. Also examined was the impact to operating expenses if an outside organization, like Commvault, was brought in to oversee backup and recovery operations as an extension of his existing IT team.

Armed with this information, the team developed a compelling business case for data availability. “If a half-million-square-foot manufacturing plant suddenly goes dark due to catastrophic data loss, we could lose millions of dollars in minutes,” says Tai. “The impact to our businesses, shareholders, customers and employees could be devastating.”

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Maximizing Uptime, Data Availability

The ability of the IT organization to articulate downtime and recovery windows in business terms enabled C-level executives to readily understand both the value and pressing need to increase data availability. By extrapolating how many hours or days it would take to recover from the loss of a critical system or recreate vital data, the team was able to validate its decision to deploy managed services. In evaluating different managed service offerings, Tai identified Recovery Point Objectives and Recovery Time Objectives (RPO/RTO) for each potential solution and the level of manpower needed to administer the offering.

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It was determined that a minimum of two full-time employees would be needed to manage the solution if brought in-house. Additionally, there was an overarching concern about the high level of expertise needed to manage business-critical backup, recovery and archiving operations internally.

Another major concern was the need to move data offsite for long-term data retention. The company wanted to archive data in the cloud, specifically to Microsoft Azure, in keeping with its enterprise-wide adoption of Microsoft Office 365. “Archiving to Azure was important,” notes Tai. “Moreover, Commvault was the only software manufacturer we spoke with to offer remote managed services directly. Everyone else provided services through a channel partner, which we felt would slow issue resolutions. Working directly with the manufacturer would facilitate issue resolution and problem management at a faster pace.”

The opportunity to simplify administration and streamline operations on backup and recovery would be liberating for the internal team. “Not only could our infrastructure team be nimbler in how they responded to other IT issues,” adds Tai. “We also could demonstrate to auditors that our environment was optimized for the highest levels of data availability and reliability.”

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Hands-off Backups Drive Hands-on Innovation

By implementing Commvault Remote Managed Services (RMS), the enterprise infrastructure team realized a significant improvement in completed data backups. Over a 12-month period, backup completion rate was 98.3 percent while the number of jobs spiked from 3,600 to nearly 60,000. “We have yet to run into an issue where data is corrupted or can’t be restored,” says Tai. “As we move into our legacy data center environment, we could potentially support hundreds of thousands of backup jobs with ease.”

Despite the rapid rise of backup and recovery requirements, Tai’s team found more time to focus on strategic projects to propel the business forward. “I’ve taken a total hands-off approach to backups,” Tai says. “I no longer need to know about our data protection hardware and software. Having Commvault managed services experts we trust means our internal team now can undertake more strategic IT projects on behalf of the organization.”

To that end, Tai shifted resources from firefighting backups to working on innovative engineering solutions. Since implementing Commvault’s managed services, the IT team deployed a new virtual environment, migrated off legacy storage and upgraded the corporate network at more than 100 locations.

More recently, Commvault Remote Managed Services are being expanded across the company’s environment. “Because we’re seen as trusted business advisors, our technology footprint is growing rapidly,” says Tai. “Instead of business units relying on ‘shadow IT,’ they’re turning to us for all types of value-added IT support.”

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Improved IT Asset Lifecycle Management

With greater visibility across the organization, the company will be poised for improved IT asset lifecycle management. The ability to quantify and qualify the number of incidents expedites problem resolution and feeds into longer-term planning. Commvault participates in monthly and quarterly business planning to review data uptime, utilization and growth numbers as well as other major priorities that impact both near- and longer-term technology roadmap planning. “Commvault is truly an extension of our own team,” notes Tai. “They generate tickets within our help-desk system and assist in measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on the overall health of our environment.”

These KPIs also shed light on equipment performance while helping guide and justify technology refreshes, migrations and moves. This all-encompassing view enables the infrastructure team to quickly and accurately identify performance issues before they create operational problems. What’s more, the ability to seamlessly monitor uptime, utilization and other KPIs informs investment recommendations as part of the company’s five-year technology roadmap.

The ability to see farther out on the technology horizon is a boon to the business, a plus for auditors and a relief for the team responsible for keeping everything running. “I sleep a lot better at night now,” Tai concludes. “We do a lot more planning now because of our Commvault partnership and every step, patch or upgrade is looked at from a risk mitigation perspective. At the end of the day, all I see is uptime and that’s what matters most.”

"I’ve taken a total hands-off approach to backups,” Tai says. “I no longer need to know about our data protection hardware and software. Having Commvault managed services experts we trust means our internal team now can undertake more strategic IT projects on behalf of the organization."

Peter Tai
Senior Manager of Enterprise Infrastructure for the North American division.
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