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Nowcom drives up efficiency, availability of customer data with EMC information infrastructure.

Summary: EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, has announced that it helped Nowcom significantly reduce the cost and time needed to restore its critical business systems in the event of a datacenter failure from days to 30 minutes.

Nowcom drives up efficiency, availability of customer data with EMC information infrastructure

Datacenter Recovery Times Cut from Several Days to 30 Minutes

EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, has announced that it helped Nowcom significantly reduce the cost and time needed to restore its critical business systems in the event of a datacenter failure from days to 30 minutes.

Ryan Jacobson, Nowcom's IT Manager, said, "As the demand for our Web-based dealer management solutions increased 30 percent in the last two years, we were also faced with the potential risk of downtime from a variety of sources including sensitive power grids and even earthquakes. If our site was unexpectedly down for an hour, customers could lose $50,000 to $100,000 in combined sales and our reputation would be damaged."

Nowcom's Dealer CenterA Web-based dealer management solutions enables more than 5,000 independent automobile dealers to manage inventory and sales, run credit reports and arrange for buyer financing and insurance. Nowcom's previous backup and recovery solution began slowing and even failing as a result of the rapid growth of the Microsoft SQL Server database used to store inventories and other valuable customer data, as well as the strained bandwidth from the 7,500 hourly hits to their website. To address this, Nowcom worked with EMC Global Services to assess their recovery requirements and to design and implement a comprehensive backup, recovery and archive solution.

As a result, Nowcom overhauled its information infrastructure and implemented EMC RecoverPoint for continuous remote replication of its SQL Server database stored on an EMC SymmetrixA DMX networked storage system in its primary datacenter to an EMC CLARiiON storage area network at the recovery site 20 miles away. Nowcom also uses EMC CelerraA Replicator software to mirror network-attached storage (NAS) files stored on EMC Celerra to another Celerra at the remote site. Additionally, Nowcom utilizes EMC Disk Library for its disk-based backup and recovery, EMC CLARiiONA networked storage systems to house its Microsoft Exchange email and Oracle 10g databases, and EMC EmailXtenderA software for archiving emails.

"We can now recover much faster," said Jacobson. "In tests, we restored Dealer Center at our remote site in 30 minutes or less instead of the days or even weeks it took before. Our recovered data was also never more than five minutes behind the production environment when previously there was often a three to four hour lag. And when a server or a desktop fails, we can recover files in five minutes or less compared with the eight hours it used to take.

"After RecoverPoint was installed, we couldn't believe how the replication just snapped into shape and so many manual replication tasks became automated. Instead of spending countless hours putting out fires and fixing replication errors, we're now much more productive and focused on solutions that deliver direct value to our customers and help grow our business." When Dealer Center experiences spikes in activity, such as when thousands of customers download a software update, RecoverPoint's intelligent monitoring automatically meters transfers to avoid replication errors. More efficient use of bandwidth also has allowed Nowcom to postpone investing in additional bandwidth even as its infrastructure continues to grow.

"Previously, we would take the SQL Server database offline for two days over a weekend to perform maintenance, such as testing or data migration," said Jacobson. "We're now able to run maintenance and testing more frequently because these functions can run at one site without bringing down our production operations. Not only does this help to improve the stability and cost-effectiveness of our infrastructure, but it enables us to bring new product features to market faster than before."

Another issue EMC addressed for Nowcom was a lack of resources and flexibility in its file sharing environment.

Andrew Gunawan, Senior System Architect, Nowcom, noted, "When our Windows file server cluster was running out of steam and users could not open Microsoft Word and other applications, we replaced it with the EMC Celerra IP storage system. The resource issues went away and the performance and availability have been outstanding ever since."

"We've had a lot of infrastructure challenges," said Jacobson. "EMC's consultants had the expertise to address our requirements -- whether it's replication or server performance or tiered storage. They checked our environment, recommended and implemented a solution, and tested everything to make sure it works." 2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

2008 Al Bawaba (Albawaba.com)

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Publication:Albawaba.com
Date:Dec 10, 2008
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