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Office Furniture Supplier Reduces Storage Costs, Restore Times with Cloud-Integrated Solution
Steelcase, a Fortune 1000 company, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of workplace products, furnishings, and services. With annual revenues of US$2.87 billion and approximately 10,000 employees at offices around the world, the company needed an effective new solution to replace its problematic backup and disaster recovery systems. Steelcase opted for a hybrid cloud storage solution featuring StorSimple cloud-integrated storage and Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment. As a result, Steelcase reduced SAN storage and data protection costs by nearly 50 percent, slashed backup and restore times by 75 percent, and implemented a tested disaster recovery plan.
"By using StorSimple and Windows Azure storage service, Steelcase has been able to reduce SAN storage costs by 46 percent."
With more than 10,000 employees and offices located around the world, Michigan-based Steelcase has relied on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 for document workflows and information sharing.
As the company’s SharePoint deployments grew, they became more difficult to back up, which put the disaster recovery capabilities at risk. In fact, SharePoint Server backups were taking 24 to 36 hours to complete. Also, backups often failed and had to be restarted or left incomplete, database restores took more than two hours to complete, and the IT team estimated that a full SharePoint recovery would take more than two days. On top of all of this, software and hardware costs for SharePoint backup systems were increasing at an alarming rate.
The IT team at Steelcase knew that a full SharePoint recovery would be a long, arduous process and could include extensive data loss. As a result, Steelcase began looking for a better, less expensive solution for its SharePoint data protection issues.
Independent of the search for a new SharePoint backup and recovery solution, Steelcase had formed a Cloud Council to investigate ways to use the cloud to streamline operations and reduce rapidly rising storage costs.
Steelcase opted for a hybrid cloud storage solution featuring StorSimple cloud-integrated storage and the Windows Azure cloud services platform, which includes automated SharePoint cloud-based data protection. This solution dramatically reduces storage area network (SAN) costs by automatically offloading volumes of colder archival data and backups.
Steelcase also moved file shares to the StorSimple system to gain automated data protection. Not only that, but by replicating remote file shares on StorSimple, Steelcase was able to extend the solution’s automated, cloud-based data protection to all remote sites around the world.
Steelcase appreciates the tight integration with SharePoint, including the ability to externalize SharePoint BLOB (binary large object) storage from the SharePoint database. The company is also excited about the automated data protection capabilities that are part of the StorSimple Cloud Snapshot backup technology.
The StorSimple system also deduplicates and compresses company SharePoint data which means the data is smaller and therefore easier—and more cost-effective—to store and protect.
“By using StorSimple and Windows Azure storage service, Steelcase has been able to reduce SAN storage costs by 46 percent,” says Roger Dore, Manager of Technical Services and Operations for Steelcase.
After deploying StorSimple and the hybrid cloud storage solution from Microsoft, Steelcase has benefited in the following ways:
- Backup and restore functions are 75 percent faster. Steelcase reports that SharePoint backup and restore functions process 75 percent more quickly than before implementing the StorSimple solution.
- Restore times reduced by 87 percent. Individual database restore times have been reduced by 87 percent.
- Administrative overhead and SAN storage costs reduced by half. Administrative overhead of data protection has been trimmed by 50 percent and SAN storage costs have fallen by 46 percent.
- Rapid return on investment. The total cost of the StorSimple solution was covered by the amount Steelcase has saved on backup software license renewals alone.
- Failover protection. Steelcase now has a working, tested disaster recovery plan for all its SharePoint data.
In summary, Steelcase found exactly what it was looking for in the hybrid cloud storage solution from Microsoft with StorSimple and Windows Azure.
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