T. B. Penick & Sons, a general contractor in San Diego, Calif., recently hired San Diego-based technology consulting firm RestorWare to help develop a solution for its data backup capabilities. “We consider protecting our data a very important thing,” says Shane Willis, Penick's chief information officer. The project has a dual focus. The firm required increased flexibility from their available servers, needed near-perfect uptime for their applications, and wanted to reduce the physical footprint and improve the energy consumption of the firm's technology environment. For the second focus, they wanted a new, expanded system for disaster recovery to protect the firm's data and ensure continuity of operation.

Jesse Charfauros, president of RestorWare, developed an analysis of the Penick environment and proposed a solution. Although Penick systems had been using a traditional tape backup approach to data protection, it was time to move to the next level.

T.B. Penick & Sons is using new technology to help backup its data, lower costs, and save space.
T.B. Penick & Sons is using new technology to help backup its data, lower costs, and save space.

Charfauros recommended Restor-Ware's Business Continuity Infrastructure (BCI) approach—a process of analysis, risk assessment, and design—to develop the ideal infrastructure for tool data protection, archiving, and disaster recovery. In addition to the BCI considerations, Willis wanted a greater degree of consolidation in his environment, in order to save physical space, cut response time, and provide continuous availability. The solution was to use Dell servers, VMware ESX 3.5, and clustered NetApp 3020s in the San Diego data center and a NetApp 2020 with 24 terabytes of available disk space at the disaster recovery site 50 miles away. The combination of VMware and the NetApp storage solution is now delivering Penick the significant savings and operational efficiencies they were after. SnapMirror, a NetApp application, replicates the data between the data centers hourly or more frequently, minimizing any potential data loss from a service interruption at either location. “This is a huge accomplishment, especially for an industry that is not necessarily technologically oriented,” says Willis.

Willis believes this solution has paid for itself in several ways, including eliminating the need for additional IT staffing as the company has grown. With the newly designed infrastructure, Penick can run both data centers with only a single system administrator.

Additional savings have come from reduced hard costs, such as equipment. “Currently we have approximately 50 servers. An average server costs $5000 to $10,000 per physical box. With the NetApp/VMware solution, we are able to get the same performance and amount of servers with only five physical boxes. If we replace servers every three years, that's a savings of almost $400,000 every three years,” says Willis.

With the new technology in place, the energy cost estimate for running the servers has plummeted from $45,000 to $4500 per year.

For more information on this product, contact T.B. Penick & Sons at 858-558-1800, www.tbpenick.com.