Case Study: Disaster Recovery
“After comparing the numbers and seeing the cost-effective advantages and powerful replication capabilities with AWS, it made complete sense for us to use AWS for our disaster recovery solution.”
-Tim Richards, IT Director at Park City Group
About Park City Group
Park City Group (NASDAQ:PCYG), is a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) provider that brings unique visibility to the consumer goods supply chain, delivering actionable information to ensure products are available when and where consumers demand them, helping retailers and suppliers to “Sell More, Stock Less, and See Everything.” Park City Group’s technology also assists all participants in the food and drug supply chains to comply with food and drug safety regulations through the Company’s ReposiTrak subsidiary.
Park City Group co-locates in a datacenter in Salt Lake City. They knew and recognized that they needed a disaster recovery solution and were considering the option of having a colocation site out-of-state that would not be affected by a regional disaster. Park City Group realized that to set up another datacenter, additional amounts of hardware would be needed which would be cost prohibitive. Their budget didn’t allow to have a robust disaster recovery setup using this approach and so they considered various cloud services.
The challenges Park City Group was faced with:
- Establish a secure disaster recovery strategy that’s easy to set up, operate, and is an extension of their corporate datacenter.
- Disaster Recovery must be cost-efficient while replicating their servers in real-time to the cloud.
Why Amazon Web Services
Park City Group wanted their disaster recovery site sufficiently geographically distant from the Western region, but still within the United States. They chose to leverage AWS’ powerful replication capabilities and selected the US East (N. Virginia) region for their disaster recovery (DR) site.
“We knew that if our data center in Salt Lake City were lost due to a regional disaster, we better make sure we had a solid backup facility to switch to that was far enough away as to not be affected,” said Tim Richards, IT Director at Park City Group. “After comparing the numbers and seeing the cost-effective advantages and powerful replication capabilities with AWS, it made complete sense for us to use AWS for our disaster recovery solution.”
Turning to 1Strategy
Park City Group was brand new to AWS and conducted their own research in finding a consulting partner that has the know-how and could migrate to AWS relatively quickly. While searching, Richards came across a few videos by Rich Uhl, 1Strategy’s Founder and CTO, including an April 2015 video. At that time, Uhl was an Enterprise Solutions Architect for Amazon Web Services who conducted a training session opportunely entitled, “Disaster Recovery (DR) of On-Premises IT Infrastructure with AWS.”
This was exactly what Richards was looking for; as Uhl noted in this video, “AWS enables fast disaster recovery of critical on-premises IT systems without incurring the complexity and expense of a second physical site. With 28 availability zones [42 in 2017] in 11 regions [16 in 2017] around the world and a broad set of services, AWS can deliver rapid recovery of on-premises IT infrastructure and data.”
Richards then learned that Rich Uhl started 1Strategy, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, and knew that 1Strategy is exactly suited to solve their challenges and directly contacted them in April of 2016.
Steps taken by 1Strategy in 2016 to establish a disaster recovery solution:
- Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) was used to create networking infrastructure within their AWS account in the US East (N. Virginia) region to house web, application, and database servers.
- A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection was formed between their co-location data center in Salt Lake City and their VPC. As a result, Park City Group could now leverage the AWS cloud as an extension of their corporate datacenter.
- 1Strategy deployed a third-party tool called CloudVelox to implement ongoing replication of server data from the co-location site to AWS, allowing Park City Group to fail over to the DR site while ensuring that the data is up-to-date.
Next steps and goals for Park City Group’s Disaster Recovery
Replication was Park City Group’s first and most urgent step. Their next step was to test their disaster recovery solution to withstand a scheduled downtime event. This drill process is essential to see the results, determine if they can recover critical data after a disruption, and verify that personnel are adequately informed and prepared.
The recovery point objective (RPO—the allowable data loss) and the recovery time objective (RTO—allowable time without a specific application) are Park City Group’s two specific parameters associated with their recovery. Prior to using and leveraging AWS capabilities for disaster recovery, their recovery time was well over one day, with some data not at all recovering.
Richards added, “Now that our environment is replicated to AWS, our desired goal and guarantee to our customers for RTO and RPO has been significantly improved.”
The benefits for Park City Group
- A secure Disaster Recovery plan is now established, leveraging AWS’ powerful capabilities to ensure their business continuity.
- Park City Group can now minimize the impact on their data, their system, and their overall business operations.
- AWS disaster recovery provides Park City Group with a cost-effective solution enabling them to have a more effective and powerful Disaster Recovery plan.
1Strategy is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting Partner focusing exclusively on AWS, with experts having deployed AWS solutions since 2007. 1Strategy specializes in helping customers architect and migrate workloads to AWS including Big Data, DevOps transformations, CI/CD, and automation. 1Strategy has established itself as a leader in consulting services, custom training, and support. 1Strategy was also chosen as a Launch Partner to the AWS Managed Service Partner program, a Partner to the AWS Public Sector Program, and in March 2017, is among the first AWS APN Partners to support Amazon Connect.
For more information about how 1Strategy can assist your company develop AWS solutions, including disaster recovery, visit 1Strategy.com.