Castle Vale Housing Association

Reliable cloud backup and recovery

providing invaluable service to tenants

castle-vale-main-image

Daisy handles the backups, so for our disaster recovery requirements all our backup data is where we need it, in Daisy’s Business Continuity Centres ready to go, which simplifies and speeds things up immensely.

Mohammed Sarfraz, IT/Network Administrator at Castle Vale Community Housing Association

The Background

Castle Vale Community Housing Association (CVCHA) is a forward looking housing association that employs 100 staff responsible for managing and maintaining 2,400 properties in one of the Midlands’ largest post-war housing estates.

The Challenge

With growing data volumes and increasing time pressures on data backup windows, any recovery and restore in the event of a failure could be time consuming and labour intensive – so CVCHA decided to move away from the restrictions and unreliability of tape-based backup and recovery.

CVCHA IT/Network Administrator Mohammed Sarfraz explains: “We need to ensure our systems are available, data isn’t lost and we have access to up-to-date information to run our business, for people to work productively, and to serve tenants who expect to receive high levels of service from us at all times. That means we need reliable disaster and data recovery capabilities.

“We have 12 servers which support business-critical activities, including two Citrix servers, two SQL servers, the core Housing Management System, a finance server and a file and print server. It is essential these systems are working at all times, so that whatever happens, we can ensure continuity of service.”

The ability to work efficiently and deliver consistently exceptional service depends on up-to-date and reliable IT systems, he continues: “Rental payments are key to our income, so if a tenant calls to pay a bill, we need to access the relevant data and process that – or if they have a query, we need to be able to check their statement to answer questions. We also need to deal with maintenance requests and emergency repair jobs, so we have to keep on top of all that as well. Smooth-running, transparent IT systems and service delivery, and the ability to recover swiftly should problems occur are vitally important. Otherwise, the impact on tenants and service levels could be significant.”

The Solution

Already with a strong and reliable partnership with Daisy in the supply of CVCHA’s business continuity, it was a natural progression to choose the same provider for the business’ off-site data storage.

“The business continuity service has worked exceptionally well,” confirms Mohammed, “We’ve run numerous tests, at least twice a year, and invoked the service at least once a year, if a server fails,
for example – and every time it’s been a success. Based on these experiences, and their highly-skilled engineers, who always arrive on site within two hours, we asked Daisy to provide our off-site data backup and data storage as well.”

Daisy’s Cloud Backup & Recovery service is fully integrated with its ‘traditional’ services, providing rapid recovery and business continuity at any one of its 18 state-of-the-art Business Continuity Centres located across the UK.

Data is stored on disk in these business continuity locations, enabling CVCHA to benefit from faster and more assured data recovery processes and ‘pay as you grow’ scalability. Mohammed explains further, “Tape backups meant additional time and resource, and it took longer to restore if data became corrupted. And because of the backup schedule we weren’t getting the most up-to-date data restored – so it could be from the day before yesterday!

The Result

Now, we can restore instantly from the same day and so waste far fewer person hours. The off-site process managed by Daisy is very fast.”

With cloud backup carried out over a leased line, CVCHA now also benefits from a scalable cloud based solution that reinforces its overall approach to business continuity, as Mohammed continues,“Daisy handles the backups, so for our disaster recovery requirements all our backup data is where we need it, in Daisy’s Business Continuity Centres ready to go, which simplifies and speeds things up immensely. It’s easy to justify the technical and commercial benefits of using the same provider for these services – Daisy’s expert knowledge in managed recovery and data backup, plus our previous experience with them for disaster recovery provisioning and their very competitive pricing.”

Daisy’s cost-effective and reliable services protect essential systems and IT services – underpinning CVCHA’s critical business operations such as finance and housing management and reducing burden and reliance on IT staff. Time and resources required for backups has also decreased, eliminating the risk of data loss, speeding up data restore processes and delivering higher service levels to users – so ensuring a great service for residents at all times. Mohammed concludes, “So many companies today offer you the world but can’t actually deliver, but Daisy is different. Their staff are very professional and treat us as human beings rather than ‘just another contract’, and they suggest the right approach rather than trying to sell you more. Their experts look at service delivery holistically, understanding our data and identifying problems before they become major issues. This saves us a lot of time, and our people have been very impressed.”

“We receive an efficient, reliable and trustworthy service, with any queries dealt with quickly. When you call Daisy, you know they’ll take action without you having to go through lots of people. That’s crucial to our service and how it’s delivered. And Daisy’s prices are certainly competitive with the rest of the market: price-wise, it’s bang on.”

The Future

Future plans with Daisy include additional backup and storage facilities, and a move towards virtualisation.

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Duncan Gosling

About Duncan Gosling

Duncan Gosling is a Marketing Manager at Daisy Corporate Services.