MetService Weathers the Storm with Actifio

Actifio and Service Provider Spectrum Help MetService with Their DR Strategy

Actifio Customer Case Study: Disaster Recovery

Actifio DR customer case study

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Executive Summary

New Zealand’s national weather authority, MetService, provides real-time weather information to the public and commercial clients around the globe. Working with Spectrum, they selected Actifio for data protection in an extensive virtual infrastructure across two Data Centers. After a significant outage, all the Actifio protected production systems were quickly restored. However, the unprotected non-production VMs required extensive and time-consuming rebuilds leading MetService to update their DR strategy, create an active/active environment utilizing a third-party Data Center, and begin backing up tier-two systems using Actifio.

MetService Overview

Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService) is New Zealand’s national weather authority, providing comprehensive year-round weather information services to help protect the safety and well-being of New Zealanders and the NZ economy. As a world-class provider of weather information, forecasts, and intelligence, MetService is as much a technology company as a weather service. And reliable technology is at the core of their public weather information delivery through mobile devices, social media, and email at all hours of the day, around the globe. Commercially MetService supplies weather information for local and international businesses in the aviation, energy, media, resources, infrastructure, and retail sectors.

KEY FACTS

Who: MetService is New Zealand’s national weather authority.

Challenges: Protecting their virtual environment, gaining recovery scope and speed, achieving simplicity.

IT Environment: Two NZ data centers, Windows, Linux, Oracle, SQL, VMware, Actifio CDS. Solution: Increased Actifio coverage, including CDS for backup, DR, replication, deduplicaiton.

The Challenge

We are all impacted by the weather. Although we can’t control it, we certainly want to know as much as we can about it. From storm warnings for commuters to forecasts that tell airline pilots the weather ahead, MetService’s world-class meteorologists deliver powerful weather intelligence. It’s critical intelligence that depends upon always-on IT systems and always available data – minute by minute. The weather data they gather and process comes from around the globe and is supplied to customers in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, the US, and Europe. In addition to their own data centers, they take advantage of AWS cloud processing capabilities for data delivery close to the customer. And to help support their global reach, MetService relies on Spectrum’s managed services to look after a significant part of their infrastructure.

“Actifio had recently been purchased when I joined MetServices but was not being leveraged to it’s potential. I quickly saw opportunity to use Actifio more effectively to manage our data. Then Actifio introduced support for object storage, and that was a complete game changer for us. We have already expanded the number of systems we back up with Actifio significantly and are confident in our data management strategy with Actifio as we approach petabyte scales with our data.”

– MARK HUTTLEY, CIO, METSERVICE

MetService uses technology to continuously improve sophisticated uses for all of the trend data they collect and help make predictions more accurate. So, protecting their data is essential to the process. Working with Spectrum, MetService looked for more flexibility and functionality in their data backup and disaster recovery protection. They wanted to replace disparate data backup methods that used a third-party provider, gain direct control, and get improved protection of their VMware environment, including faster services and more timely recoveries. For that, they selected Actifio and installed Copy Data Storage (CDS) appliances in their Auckland and Wellington data centers. It all worked as planned for more than three years. The occasional file restore was easily done, and databases were simply refreshed from production copies. Then, an extensive Data Center outage occurred over a weekend when the air conditioning failed, and systems subsequently started to break down.

“We decided on Actifio because it provides a simple and reliable way to protect our virtual environment as well as much faster recovery over our previous system. It was easy to implement. It’s easy to use. Everything we needed was in the box.”

– BRIAN VOLLER, METSERVICE SENIOR SYSTEMS ENGINEER

Recovery

Recovery from a major outage is the real test of a DR strategy. In this case, critical protection of the primary weather applications and modeling systems worked as intended. Data stores on the primary storage network had been corrupted, but production data was quickly restored using Actifio backups. New VMs were activated, and production applications were up and running again. However, non-critical systems that had not been protected by Actifio were a different story. They faced a slow and painstaking rebuild process. These were secondary systems used primarily for processing outside of the core production systems and considered non-essential in the backup strategy. The thinking was that one or two would be easy to rebuild. But, in this case, rebuilding twenty or more meant significant labor and days of delay. The unprotected secondary systems were eventually rebuilt but with extra effort. And with this experience to guide their thinking, MetService has evolved their backup and DR strategy to include the second-tier systems.

“Actifio versatility is outstanding. And as we become ever more familiar, it provides so many more elements of capability and insight.”

– MARK HUTTLEY, CIO, METSERVICE

A New DR Strategy

After the outage, MetService significantly reduced their risk profile. With support from Spectrum and Actifio, they strengthened their business continuity plan and created a robust disaster recovery position. Actifio will soon protect all first and second tier systems. Also, with the addition of a remote third-party replication site, they now have an active/active configuration enabling continuous operations.

Benefits:

Reliable and comprehensive backup/recovery & disaster recovery systems in place

All critical data and systems protected

Rapid data recovery in place

Backup extended to secondary systems

Easy of management and direct control

“Actifio will be our migration tool for production-based instances into the AWS environment. And the future for MetService will include, Machine Learning and AI running in the cloud at a tenth of the cost of running on-premises.” – MARK HUTTLEY, CIO, METSERVICE