“Without Acronis, our SAN requirements would have gone up by multiple terabytes.”
From the Beatles and Bowie to Pink Floyd, and from Frank Sinatra to Katie Perry and Keith Urban, EMI is one of the world’s leading music companies. A few of their many record labels include Angel®, Blue Note®, Capitol®, EMI Classics® and Virgin Records®. Founded in 1887, the 4,000-person company’s technological innovation includes the first stereo recording, the first digital album download and the first Internet video single.
Innovation carries over into EMI’s IT efforts, and recently the company took advantage of Acronis Backup & Recovery® 11 software to meet the terms of a business-continuity contract it signed with one of the world’s largest hardware vendors.
Systems must be recoverable to virtual machines
In 2009, the company concluded an agreement with Hewlett Packard® to replace three separate disaster recovery contracts with a single, far more efficient and cost-effective business continuity solution heavily weighted to VMware® virtual machines. To complete the deal, EMI was required to provide the capability to recover mission-critical physical servers remaining in its US and London data centers to virtual machines in the event of a failure, using a conversion process that was fast and automatic.
These physical machines run crucial applications including Microsoft® Exchange and a Windows® SAP-based general ledger system. The ability to carry out a near-instant P2V conversion in case of a system failure is absolutely necessary to the company’s operation, according to Bob Beasley, head of Americas & Asia System Services, EMI Music, North America.
Critical recovery functionality lost
For some time EMI’s IT team had been able to satisfy the P2V requirement using a vRanger Pro P2V DR plug-in utility. “It allowed us to create compressed backups and restore them onto the VMware hosts as virtual machines.”
With the vRanger utility in place and part of a comprehensive DR strategy, EMI raised its recovery rates from between 40% and 50% up to the 100% But this was jeopardized when Quest Software® acquired vRanger and the P2V functionality was replaced by another Quest offering that stripped key features such as scheduling, compression, and recovery options out of the tool. When EMI’s IT team tried to implement it in London, they found the new P2V plug-in to be missing key features. Without it, EMI would have to double the amount of SAN storage they currently use in both production and DR services. “SAN storage is very expensive, and this really had us over a barrel,” Beasley says.
EMI was left to try and run with unsupported tools that could not service newer operating systems past
Microsoft® Server 2003. The situation was unacceptable and, and forced the team to look for alternatives.
Acronis tested and validated
“I was aware that Acronis was in that space and their name had come up before,” Beasley says. The team downloaded and tested a fully functioning copy of Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 software and validated it as a formidable replacement for vRanger Pro. “We loaded the software across several versions of Windows and we were assured that it was schedule-able and VMware-compatible,” he explains.
Acronis “our solution”M
Beasley summarizes the transition EMI is going through as it implements the Acronis solution. “The features we were interested in from Acronis were compressed backup and P2V restore. There has been nothing to indicate that we’d have a problem with either, so we’re in the implementation stage with 70 licenses.”
The new software will allow EMI to continue to leverage the highly-efficient business continuity solution it arranged with HP. “We are bringing Acronis physical-to-virtual backup into our daily routine and integrating it now into our disaster recovery exercises,” he says. “And it preserves our storage investment. Without it, our SAN requirements would have gone up by multiple terabytes. Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 is our solution.”