Frazzled by traffic? Utah-based Wavetronix is dedicated to improving traffic flow around the world, even as the number of drivers and vehicles increases. The global company provides municipal traffic managers and engineers with radar-based data collection and analysis products to enhance roadway efficiency and safety.

“In the last 10 years, Wavetronix has become one of the world leaders in the ITS [intelligent transportation systems] market,” says Rob Moon, IT manager at Wavetronix. “We’ve developed some of the most advanced technologies out there, such as intersection products and dilemma zone solutions to increase safety and data-gathering efficiencies.”

Moon has seen the industry’s rapid growth and technological breakthroughs firsthand. Unfortunately, he’s also experienced the time sinks of being saddled with outdated backup and data recovery products, since he alone operates as the company’s entire IT staff.

Easing the backup process

Previously, the company used a legacy system and about 140 tapes for backup and disaster recovery. Moon was able to back up only critical engineering data along with a few business data items rather than entire servers. The tapes were rotated to an off-site storage facility.

“Every Monday morning, they’d come get my tapes even if we weren’t quite ready,” says Moon. “And we were never sure if the backup actually worked. Mondays were the worst, and I’d have to come in early just to check to see if we got what we needed, which, too often, we didn’t.”

The restore process was doubly cumbersome for Moon, who couldn’t get a needed backup tape until the next day. The process took a significant amount of his time that could have been spent working on higher-value IT projects for Wavetronix. “There were just too many times that I ended up not being able to restore what I wanted,” says Moon. “Or I wouldn’t learn that a backup wasn’t working for days. Then the autoloader broke.” Moon told his boss it was time to look for something better.

After considering a few different backup and recovery products, Wavetronix chose Dell™ AppAssure™ software because it hit on the key problems Moon was having. “I’m able to set my incremental snaps at one hour for all my machines now, and the speed and ease of use are really great,” says Moon. “I don’t have to worry about backups now. They happen, and the data is there to restore as soon as I need it.”

Expediting file restores

Now, Moon is able to easily complete actual live production restores in less than five minutes without any performance interruption. “We have a shared spreadsheet that some technicians use to track repaired parts,” notes Moon. “For some reason, the shared spreadsheet will sometimes get deleted. The same scenario happens with a template that our doc writers share. I can restore the file literally in less than 30 seconds with Dell AppAssure. I have confidence that the process works and the team members will get what they are expecting.”

In addition, the deduplication and compression capabilities of Dell AppAssure help Moon free up storage space. “I’m amazed at how little storage my backups are taking,” says Moon. “I thought I would have to add more space by now, but I’m still quite a ways out before having to add more drives to my storage server. I have a rack-mounted hard-drive array with three 3TB drives, but I’m using only 1.75TB of that right now.”

Dell AppAssure also enabled Moon to simplify administrative work. “I moved one of my physical machines into a virtual environment, monitoring it all the way through with Dell AppAssure,” says Moon. “Previously, this would have been a nightmare.”

The switch to Dell AppAssure allowed Moon and Wavetronix to carry out a paradigm change in backups and disaster recovery. The next piece of the puzzle is off-site, colocated replication. Moon says he’ll use the push-button failover, standby virtual machines and integrated data replication features of Dell AppAssure to give the company a comprehensive disaster recovery process. “I’ve been lucky that I never had any huge disasters in the past. But I never slept easy,” admits Moon. “Now, I can do my real work.”

For more information, download the “2012 Essential Checklist for Backup and Recovery”: