Feature

Venyu tackles backup and recovery for Dallas Cowboys

When the Dallas Cowboys sought a replacement for their tape backup, the team switched to Venyu’s RestartIT backup and recovery service to better coordinate backup functions from their numerous sports and retail facilities in Texas.

“They were looking to

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move away from this offloading tape backup solution and move to a solution (with more) flexibility to achieve all their technology needs,” said Venyu’s Tommy Curb, vice president of business development and legal affairs.

The Cowboys, with an estimated net value of $1.85 billion by Forbes, stored all of their data on tape. At Cowboys Stadium, the organization stored 22 TB on a HP StorageWorks tape library, and at another site, they kept an additional 28 TB on a 58-slot Overland LTO library, according to John Winborn, the chief information officer for the Cowboys.

And that setup preserved the Cowboys’ SQL databases, file shares, Exchange mail databases, application configurations, VMware configuration files and Windows Server state information. Keeping all that data organized and properly backed up had “definitely become cumbersome,” Winborn said in an email.

“We needed a solution that satisfied our backup windows and was easier to keep up with. We also needed better reporting and needed to keep up with our business continuity policies by allowing for offsite storage of backed up data,” Winborn said.

There were other challenges, such as software errors and problems meeting their backup window schedule while using tape, he said. The team switched to Venyu to address those issues.

Curb said the team’s former director of enterprise technology and infrastructure was familiar with RestartIT.

“They were looking to expend additional capital resources on a tape backup and continue their tape backup solution… and we presented them what we like to consider a more robust, user-friendly solution, less capital-intensive, and the timing couldn’t have been better to have that conversation with them,” Curb said.

Venyu’s RestartIT data backup and recovery service includes a hosting site at the company’s Baton Rouge, La. headquarters and a main continuity site in Springfield, Mo., as well as a backup and “rapid recovery” location in Marlborough, Mass. The company also offers typical backup and recovery offerings such as 24/7 technical support, as well as more advanced functions such as restoring customer data to a virtual machine at Venyu’s data center for quick disaster recovery.

Curb said the Cowboys had to consolidate their backup operation because the team has so many facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, retail locations in the region and the team’s practice facility.

“With all that diversification of location, tape really made it difficult to manage all those facilities, so they were looking for an online solution that would essentially streamline it,” Curb said.

Winborn said Venyu sent over hardware to begin the transfer from tape backup, while the team’s IT staff pushed the Venyu agents onto the Cowboys’ systems, which allowed the IT staff to configure each backup and determine the granularity needed for each system.

“We were able to select the type of backups, the backup schedules, and the specific files and applications that needed protection,” Winborn said. “We were then able to send deltas to Venyu over the wire and continue backups without interruption.” 

Since the transfer to Venyu was completed more than three months ago, the team has improved the time it takes to finish backups, while errors that do crop up are easier to resolve, he said.


This was first published in February 2012

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