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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Scale Computing Talks Remote Disaster Recovery, Backup and Google Cloud Platform


Scale Computing has been in the headlines recently for their partnership with Lenovo to build a new joint product providing a solution for edge infrastructure for global retailers, distributed enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses.  The Indianapolis-based hyperconverged and edge computing specialist also recently announced a new $35m funding round to take on the competition.  And as part of the company's efforts into the retail market, Scale Computing just announced an interesting new deal with Puerto Rico-based fast food company, Grupo Colón Gerena, to create a remote disaster recovery/backup solution that provides maximum reliability in the face of natural disasters, including hurricanes.

To learn more and find out how the company is combining its edge computing solution with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), VMblog spoke with Jeff Ready, Scale Computing's CEO.

VMblog:  What is the relationship between Scale Computing and Grupo Colon Gerena?

Jeff Ready:  As background, Grupo Colon Gerena (GCG) of Puerto Rico owns the exclusive franchise rights to six restaurant brands in the territory - Wendy's, Applebee's, Famous Dave's, Sizzler, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Red Lobster - and manages 113 locations with more than 6,500 employees.

Following a successful proof of concept, GCG selected our HC3 Cloud Unity solution for its data center and implemented it within days. Now when disaster strikes, GCG is confident their data is secure, which was first demonstrated during Hurricane Maria last year when they used HC3 Cloud Unity to relocate their infrastructure in the face of the storm.

VMblog:  What challenges was GCG facing that Scale Computing helped them address?

Ready:  Having considered numerous other alternatives, including AlienVault and Microsoft Azure, GCG was ultimately looking for a cost-efficient and simple remote DR/backup solution that could maintain 99.999 percent uptime and ensure quality service to its customers. Making sure their data was always protected through exceptional remote backup and recovery capabilities was their top priority given Puerto Rico is prone to natural disasters.

GCG also faced the challenge of needing to find a solution that could handle their complex IT environment which includes 113 locations connected to the data center over an MPLS network, with simple, seamless integration of its legacy hardware and software. Turning on the server and operating it from the cloud proved to be another challenge GCG faced. The organization needed to connect to the cloud in real-time from their on-premises infrastructure combining storage, compute and virtualization into a single solution.

VMblog:  You mentioned GCG is using Scale Computing's HC3 Cloud Unity.  Can you describe that solution?  

Ready:  C3 Cloud Unity allows an organization's apps to use resources in the cloud and on-prem at the same time. It also enables apps solely created for on-prem to now run on the Google Cloud Platform. HC3 Cloud Unity combines the private cloud capabilities of Scale Computing's HC3 hyperconverged platform, SCRIBE software-defined-storage, and new SD-WAN capabilities with Google Compute Engine, the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering for Google Cloud Platform. HC3 Cloud Unity also leverages Google's recently released nested virtualization support. With HC3 Cloud Unity running both on-premises and in Google Cloud Platform, HC3 Cloud Unity creates a virtual LAN that simply bridges an on-prem local LAN with the private virtual network on GCP. This allows IT organizations such as GCG to connect to the cloud in real time from their on-premises infrastructure that combines storage, compute and virtualization in a single solution.

VMblog:  What cost savings does this provide businesses?

Ready:  With this solution, adding cloud capabilities is turn-key. Nothing needs to be rewritten, which saves money, and nothing needs to be relearned, which saves even more. In addition, this is a great way for companies to implement disaster recovery with the ability to have their systems fail-over into the Google Cloud in the event of a disaster. We see that as being the biggest area of demand right now - and no surprise with the natural disasters over the past few years - that customers want the ability to use something like Google Cloud, but previously didn't see a way to make their apps run there. Now if their systems go down in a hurricane, flood or fire, everything can quickly come back online inside the Google Cloud so business can continue as usual.

VMblog:  What will be the long-term effects of GCG's use of Scale Computing?

Ready:  The solution was so affordable for GCG that they are now able to store and move more than 2.5 terabytes of data across HC3 Cloud Unity, covering all of its servers and cores with the ability to expand easily and at a low cost in the future.

VMblog:  What should other companies in GCG's position be thinking about when implementing a recovery platform?  What should they assess or what precautions need to be taken?

Ready:  Other companies should assess the amount of data that needs to be stored. They should also look at their location and evaluate the threat of natural disasters and ask the question:  is there current solution not only affordable but also fast?

There are plenty of precautions companies like GCG can take. A huge one would be to take inventory to ensure backups and replication are in sync. This will save time and reduce the burden on storage capacity. Also, converging infrastructures when possible is also key. Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that combine servers, storage, virtualization and backup or DR solutions into a single integrated system can help save operational and support times. Another precaution companies can take would be adding off-site replication and remote snapshots to provide geographic redundancy. By doing this, this will greatly reduce recovery times. Also, if a company plans their remote failover options, they  allow their business to maintain operations within a matter of minutes for a fast recovery time objective (RTO). One last key precaution is for a company to be ready for individual file recoveries, meaning time spent building a DR plan with these components enables an IT team to recover data within minutes.


Published Friday, November 02, 2018 7:25 AM by David Marshall
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