SYDNEY — After achieving spectacular before-vs-after results for data backup and retrieval in Australia, Starwood Group has chosen StorageCraft ShadowProtect as the preferred solution for its 370-plus hotels across Asia Pacific, and possibly globally.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has 1,162 properties under nine different brands in 100 countries, and 171,000 employees.
Before installing the StorageCraft application to protect the group’s 10 Australian five-star hotels, including the Westin, Sheraton and Four Points brands, it took Starwood 26 hours to back up 4TB of data. Today it takes ShadowProtect 30 seconds for an incremental backup every 15 minutes, which ensures that no more than 15 minutes of data creation is ever lost.
Formerly, a crashed server took up to 48 hours to retrieve – today ShadowProtect takes 1-2 hours for a full functional system recovery. Recovery of a single file that once took up to an hour, now takes less than a minute.
“We needed a solution that would deliver instant backup and retrieval, and protect our group against whatever disaster could possibly hit a hotel,” said Lindsay Leigh, Director of Information Technology, Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, and Regional Director of Information Technology, Starwood Pacific Hotels. “We are 100 per cent confident that ShadowProtect delivers this level of data security, and will continue to do so.”
The hotel chain has about 100 servers, or PCs acting as servers, across Australia, backed up to a server with 25TB of data which is replicated to a second server with another 25 TB that eventually will be moved off-site.
“We are looking to remove tape across the whole of Asia Pacific and move backup and restore to ShadowProtect,” says Leigh. “A key aim of this initiative is to increase our ability to recover data fast, and to have that data always available. In my opinion tape backups are slow and unreliable.”
In evaluating tape replacement, his highest priority was speed of both backup and recovery, in a data imaging solution.
Leigh said: “We checked a number of backup solutions, but ShadowProtect won on price, support and ease of use and that it focuses on recovery, not just backup. When we test a solution, we call the vendor’s support to see how helpful their people are. Then the solution must be easy to set up and easy to explain to our people, and it must recover data easily. StorageCraft ticked all the boxes.
“I needed a solution where I could say: here’s the solution, it costs this much, this is what we need to buy, someone will come and show us how to install it. StorageCraft satisfied this wish-list, but our tape backup people, and the other disk-based solutions we checked, could not do so. They would all have required us to buy different agents, different licensing, different this or that – it was all too difficult and expensive.”
ShadowProtect automates backups to Starwood’s main data server in Sydney every 15 minutes. Each backup takes 30 seconds, compared with 26 hours for a tape backup. Then individual servers around Australia are backed up every hour or two hours, depending on how critical their data is to operations. These backups are staggered throughout the day to avoid network congestion, which allows offsite replication through a relatively inexpensive internet link.
Leigh says: “Backup and retrieval are the most important priorities for any organisation. We test our ability to recover data every day – if you don’t learn how to do a recovery; it’s not going to save you when the fires are burning. So ShadowProtect gives me 100 per cent confidence that our hotel chain’s data is protected from user error, systems failure, or disasters such as earthquakes, fires or floods.”
Lost files pose no problems either. According to Leigh, users accidentally delete files almost daily, and ShadowProtect recovers these easily, usually within a minute. Using tape backup, the process would take an hour.
Whenever Leigh’s team upgrade any part of the Starwood group’s systems, they take a full backup, first building the whole system on virtual machine using ShadowProtect VirtualBoot.
He says: “We do the upgrade on a virtual machine, check that everything works, then upgrade in the production system. This eliminates the entire risk and reduces downtime since when we do the upgrade, we run the system in virtual concurrently. Downtime is reduced to almost zero.”
Leigh cites another advantage of using StorageCraft technology: “One of the biggest pluses of ShadowProtect is its ability to work across multiple software applications. Whether it is Oracle or Exchange, it doesn’t really matter because ShadowProtect uses the same methodology.
“All the other products I know require a different methodology to recover a different type of database or system. ShadowProtect makes our life a lot easier, and makes training an IT manager a lot easier, because you need to train them only once.”
He said the Starwood Group of hotels in Australia plans to migrate to StorageCraft’s new cloud service later this year.
“Then we are looking to use ShadowProtect across the whole of Asia (where Starwood has more than 370 hotels), and then across the entire world if we can get it off the ground. Now the Australian implementation has gone so well, we will begin targeting Asia.”
Greg Wyman, StorageCraft
Vice President – Asia Pacific
Phone: +61 2 8061 4444 ormobile +61 402 259 359
For media enquiries:
David Frost, PR Deadlines
Phone: +61 2 4341 5021 or mobile +61 408 408 210
Director of Information Technology,
Sheraton on the Park
Regional Director of Information Technology
Starwood Pacific Hotels
T +61 2 9286 6647 M +61 4 5879 2244