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Cengage Implements Actifio for Hybrid Data Protection

Actifio GO and Actifio Sky together provide a simple, integrated, data backup,
and utilization platform.

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Information Technology is central to the delivery of Cengage services. However, as their physical infrastructure grew, IT systems had become non-standard and complex. With increasing cloud presence, the legacy backup infrastructure, in particular, was functionally insufficient, inflexible, and expensive. Cengage began their transition to Actifio for backup of their virtual environment and then expanded to cover all databases. They implemented the Actifio GO SaaS platform to provide Amazon S3 backup for remote sites and eliminated scattered legacy infrastructure. Finally, they implemented Actifio GO backup for data center systems using existing network capacity for a direct AWS connection. Actifio Sky implementation in support of DevOps has already reduced the required storage capacity by 100TB and cut costs by $200,000.

“Actifio GO has been our saving grace.”

ALAN REES, CENGAGE INFRASTRUCTURE ARCHITECT

Cengage Overview
Cengage is an education and technology company serving higher education,K-12, professional, library, and workforce training markets worldwide. The Cengage learning experiences are designed to build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, MA, Cengage has employees in nearly 40 countries and sales in approximately 165 countries around the world.An impressive global information technology operation provides critical resources essential to the Cengage education mission.

The Challenge
The physical IT infrastructure at Cengage had grown in support of the increased strength and geographic spread of their business. Over several years, in two data centers and multiple remote IT sites, IT systems had become quite a diverse mix of storage, operating systems, and specialized applications, many created in-house. Now, as they were also increasing their cloud presence, the existing backup infrastructure was expensive and functionally insufficient. It was time to look for lower-cost alternatives that could extend functionality across their Hybrid architecture while increasing operational performance.

“Our IT future is Hybrid. We’re pragmatic about what works best inside our data centers and what runs better and cheaper, with more scalability, in the cloud. Actifio Sky’s expanded feature set, and the addition of Actifio GO, means we can check all the boxes on-site and in any cloud.”

ALAN REES, CENGAGE INFRASTRUCTURE ARCHITECT

The Solution
The Cengage team began reviewing alternatives, and, influenced by their CIO’s knowledge, Actifio became part of the mix. Cengage chose Actifio Sky to start backing up their virtual environment. With a positive experience, they targeted their databases next. “It all worked well,” said Rees, “but we still had two different sets of infrastructure running; one in our data centers and another in the Amazon cloud. Then Actifio GO was announced, and that has made all the difference for us.”

As a SaaS platform, Actifio GO is a versatile means for addressing VM, physical and database backup, and recovery to AWS or any other cloud. To start, Cengage used Actifio GO to cover backup for multiple remote sites, each with 40+ TB of data and older physical backup systems on-site. These sites were migrated to Actifio GO and targeted at Amazon S3. Gradually, selected primary data center systems were also migrated to Actifio GO and S3. This takes advantage of the existing network bandwidth and lower S3 storage expenses.

As the combination of Actifio Sky and Actifio GO expand across the entire Cengage infrastructure, the older and more expensive systems are decommissioned. When the migration is complete, only a few special-purpose legacy systems will remain.

The Cengage team has now also initiated new processes to use Actifio Sky to provide immediate access to fresh database copies for their Application Developers. This has already reduced the amount of duplicate storage devoted to development databases by about 100 TB, and reduced storage costs by roughly $200,000. As Actifio support for Cengage developers expands, costs will continue to decline, and application development schedules will accelerate.

“Our next initiative is to integrate Actifio automation for backups, recoveries, and expanded DevOps support. We know Actifio is well-positioned to provide us even greater capability.”

ALAN REES, CENGAGE INFRASTRUCTURE ARCHITECT

Benefits
• A single technology platform providing on-site and cloud backups as well as support for DevOps direct access to database refresh on demand
• Elimination of redundant, expensive and complicated on-premises legacy backup systems
Actifio Go enterprise-class Software-as-a-Service providing zero storage capacity management at simple subscription pricing
• Decreased on-premise storage capacity and $200,000 cost reductions
• Increased backup, recovery, and server automation capabilities