Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure
A Use Case Analysis
Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:
- Ease of deployment
- Outstanding ROI
- Overall TCO improvement
Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day. Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:
- Improving overall performance for backups
- Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
- Replacing components difficult to manage and support
In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.
Adventist Risk Management (ARM) is a US-based company with global operations. It is the official insurance and risk management company for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Adventist ministries around the world, servicing more than 20M members as well as churches, schools, and other nonprofit organizations.
ARM’s core applications and data are concentrated in two data centers, replicated to each other for disaster recovery. The primary need is to keep operations lean and efficient. The goals are to provide the best services for its associates through dedicated products for this particular field, and to have the ability to respond quickly to their needs—all while meeting the regulatory requirements of the finance industry.
When it comes to IT infrastructure, one of the main goals of ARM’s CIO, Tony Vargas, is to keep services running 24 x 7 while minimizing risk, and to keep costs down. This is a challenge common to many enterprises, but ARM solved it by evolving its infrastructure over the years to take advantage first of virtualization and then of hyperconvergence. Choosing the right data protection and management solutions to run on top of it fully realized Vargas’ vision of a simple yet powerful and very sustainable infrastructure that can meet today’s needs while being ready for tomorrow’s growth.
ARM undertook an IT infrastructure journey toward its goal of a simpler and more flexible environment. Virtualization streamlined some aspects of the stack, but traditional infrastructure components and data protection tools were too complicated and hard to manage. Every system upgrade, expansion, or even hardware decommissioning resulted in a lengthy series of validation activities, professional services, and system administration tasks to perform outside of working hours. At issue was not only the cost but the risk associated with this activity.
Furthermore, the traditional data protection solution previously tested was not able to provide good RPOs and RTOs, and risked compromising disaster recovery as well. The infrastructure simply was not scalable from an operations point of view, and the team struggled to meet compliance goals. This resulted in:
- High—and rising—infrastructure costs
- Dependency on highly skilled professionals for even basic tasks
- Risks associated with complexity and inefficiency
All in all, this signaled a trajectory that would make it hard to meet regulatory and compliance requirements over time.
The adoption of the Nutanix Cloud Platform eliminated all the complexity associated with infrastructure management. All activity, including much of what was previously considered critical, is now performed during working hours. Nutanix’s lifecycle management system takes care of all the necessary steps to perform updates, and hides all the complexity behind the scenes. Adding and removing nodes takes just a few clicks, allowing applications and users to take advantage of new resources immediately.
The same sort of simplification occurred with data protection, thanks to HYCU. HYCU is fully integrated with Nutanix and helps hide complexity while taking advantage of the infrastructure to speed up and optimize operations. The result was a 4X increase in the frequency of backups and faster recovery operations, improving RPO and RTO. ARM’s recent adoption of Nutanix Objects for its growing storage needs further enhanced data protection operations and reducing storage management costs.
Adopting Nutanix and HYCU yielded huge savings for ARM, easily quantifiable in the time of two full-time employees who can now work on other aspects of the IT environment. Even better, the integration between HYCU and Nutanix Objects supplied useful options for ransomware protection, thanks to mutual support for immutable objects.
Tony Vargas, ARM CIO, identified HYCU and Nutanix as his best vendors for support and professional services. In view of the success of this collaboration, he is also very confident that, in the future, he will adopt additional Nutanix and HYCU solutions to support his business.
Nutanix once again demonstrated its commitment to providing end-to-end solutions that simplify both infrastructure and operations.
The partnership of HYCU and Nutanix enabled a seamless integration between the two platforms that further enhanced the user experience even as it increased overall system performance and efficiency. It is worth noting that the Nutanix and HYCU support teams are close-knit, further improving overall user experience.
The customer reported an impressive ROI from the combined adoption of Nutanix and HYCU, one that is also reflected in long-term savings and better system scalability, lowering the overall TCO for the company.
Nutanix Objects contributed as well to improved TCO, freeing another senior sysadmin from data storage management tasks and opening additional scenarios the company seems ready to exploit.
The practical result of this combined HYCU and Nutanix solution was a visible improvement in ARM’s operations, with 4X faster backups and three sysadmins able to dedicate their time to other tasks. And just as important, the solution is one that can grow with the company, and enables the company to grow.
About Enrico Signoretti
Enrico has 25+ years of industry experience in technical product strategy and management roles. He has advised mid-market and large enterprises across numerous industries and software companies ranging from small ISVs to large providers.
Enrico is an internationally renowned visionary author, blogger, and speaker on the topic of data storage. He has tracked the changes in the storage industry as a Gigaom Research Analyst, Independent Analyst and contributor to the Register.
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