Opening the Book on Cloud Migration to Google Cloud with help from Incentro and HYCU
Text Book Centre Case Study
The past eighteen months has been challenging for all retailers. In particular, for TBC, Kenya’s leading bookstore chain, rapidly rising customer expectations, increased competition from non-traditional retail business models, rapid technology shifts, and continued pressure on margins would have been tough under normal circumstances but were heightened due to the global pandemic.
To meet the demands of the region’s vibrant education sector, with its flagship store at Sarit Centre, TBC has ten branches with plans to grow and expand within the region. To overcome the existing challenges and to set TBC on the path to success, the team set upon an aggressive rollout to modernize the IT organization to make it operationally more agile while addressing consumer specific driven needs and demands.
Two parts of the modernization effort were a move from an outdated ERP system that had been in place for the past 15 years to SAP. In addition, the team moved from an on-premises based infrastructure to Google Cloud. To support this effort, TBC needed an easy-to-use backup and recovery solution that worked well with Google Cloud and SAP.
“At the end of the day, our goal was to continue to make a difference for our customers by delivering a better experience for them with technology and services that allowed us to focus on them and on spending time, energy and resources in managing infrastructure,” said Ezekiel Kagongo, IT Manager, Text Book Centre.
In collaboration with Incentro, TBC’s IT solutions partner and a Google Premier Partner with more than ten years of experience in Cloud migration, Enterprise Collaboration and smart application development, the IT team needed a cloud-native backup and recovery solutions that could help.
“After we made a strategic decision to move to GCP, we needed a backup solution that could scale with our Google Cloud infrastructure growth but that was also Backint-certified to run with SAP HANA,“ Kagongo says.
As Dennis de Weerd, CEO Incentro Africa, points out, “We suggested HYCU to TBC for three major reasons: ease of use and deployment, native integration with Google Cloud and tight integration with SAP HANA. Choosing HYCU was a win-win-win for TBC, Incentro and HYCU.”
While the team had tested several alternatives backup solutions available in the market, none were able to meet TBC’s timeline, scale, simplicity, security and cost objectives. In particular, TBC anticipated starting with an infrastructure to support 5TiB and was expected to grow to 8-10TiB in the first 8 months.
HYCU for GCP is delivered in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS). As a managed service, HYCU for GCP does not require installation, TBC was able to simply subscribe to HYCU from the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. HYCU automatically performs the necessary provisioning and the service is ready to use. HYCU also uses GCP-native snapshots to create temporary copies of instance persistent disks (PD). The temporary persistent disks are attached to dynamically started HYCU Worker instances, which back up the PD data and instance metadata to Cloud Storage. HYCU uses change block tracking (CBT) to store only changed blocks to Cloud Storage, this means that the first backup is a full backup and each subsequent backup contains only blocks that changed after the previous backup.
Based on retention requirements, backups can be stored in any cloud storage class (standard, nearline, coldline, or archive) and location (single-region or multi-region). Of note, temporary persistent disks and HYCU workers are deleted after data is copied to Cloud Storage.
- Ease of Use and Deployment
There was Zero sizing effort with HYCU’s elastic, cloud-scale architecture and ability to support geographic coverage with little to no complexity. Also, as HYCU requires zero maintenance and updates are automated as-a-service in GCP + Integrated Google Billing, there was little to no need for professional services.
- Fast Backup and Restore Times
HYCU leverages the full efficiency advantages of Google Cloud, significantly reducing backup and restore times. “With HYCU, backup and recovery time is next to nothing,” says Kagongo.
“We recently had to restore an application and it took just 60 seconds. With our previous backup solution, that would have taken significantly longer.”
- Reduced Costs and Operational Simplicity
There was zero learning curve with HYCU’s UI tailored to GCP terminology. For TBC’s DevOps teams, it was easy to consume both backup and recovery as a service. “We dramatically reduced our storage costs with a combination of Google Snapshots and native Change Block Tracking technology (incremental forever backups) along with SAP HANA Backup and HYCU using Cloud Storage Backint,” Kagongo adds
About the Customer
Text Book Centre (TBC) is East and Central Africa's largest Educational, Cultural and Technological Content and Products Distributor. It was founded in 1964 as a partnership between two businessmen in Kenya, Mr. S Vidhu Shah and Mahesh J Rughani. TBC has grown to become the leading bookstore chain in Kenya. Its retail, wholesale and distribution services have unrivalled capacity to meet the demands of Kenya's vibrant education sector.