SAN Failure tests new Head of IT 2 weeks into the role.

Campbell Lutyens is an independent private equity company with offices in London, New York and Hong Kong. They focus on private equity and infrastructure fund placements, providing specialist advice on the sale or restructuring of portfolios.

The Disaster Recovery Solution

Plan B provides Campbell Lutyens with a disaster recovery solution which protects their core communications and business information systems. Seven of their critical servers are certified by our Pre-recovery solution which guarantees that their IT system will be recovered within twice the minutes it takes to boot the system. The systems protected include file servers, SQL servers, terminal servers, and email servers (including servers for BES and Archiving).

Campbell Lutyens wanted a guaranteed method of reducing IT downtime as they were aware of the huge risk this could have to the business. Because Plan B is the only company to automate the Pre-recovery of their systems and test them every night, offering a virtual standby IT system, we were the first choice of partner. The cost was favourable because our automation allows the cost of Pre-recovery to be reduced.

The Disaster

On the evening of the 11th December, Campbell Lutyens noticed they couldn’t access three of their servers. They spoke to us about recovering these and looking into what the issue was. The problem worsened as, one by one, the business lost access to all of their servers. At 6.00am on the 12 December, our client asked for a full recovery of all their systems as their business could not function.

The Recovery

At 6am, as soon as we received the call from the client we went through our security protocol. This gave us authorisation to carry out the recovery as per our ISO27001 accredited security process. Our recovery process is very simple. We do all the work in advance each night so Campbell Lutyens’ recovered system had already been configured and tested. We therefore only had to boot up our client’s standby system to get them back online. Once we had their system up and running we then simply provided them with secure VPN access to their virtual system, running on our platforms. This whole process took just 30 minutes, so by 6.30am their business was able to function again, running on our platform with full functionality. All user profiles were configured so they could access their desktops as if they were running on their internal systems.

The Business Impact

We sat down and reviewed the recovery process and business status with Campbell Lutyens on the 13th December. At this point 95% of their business users were working as normal. 100% of the systems Plan B protect were running on full functionality. This meant the 5% of users who hadn’t regained full productivity were working from non-critical systems not protected by Plan B.Plan B’s Disaster Recovery Solution ensured that no business impact was felt from our client’s loss of IT system. Users were able to access their desktops as normal from 6.30am. As a result of the experience, Campbell Lutyens knows that their business is protected from IT downtime and as such they feel confident that they have minimised their risk as much as possible with Plan B’s service.

Long term solution

Plan B allows clients to remain on our platform for as long as they need to ensure they have the right long
term solution moving forwards. Given the nature of the failure of the customer’s systems, they were keen to replace portions of their failed architecture before resuming service from them. In these circumstances, we also provide the option of the customer renting an ‘export server’ from us. These servers are available for the loading of the customer’s Virtual Images, and can then be shipped to the customer’s location, allowing them to run from these environments, whilst allowing the D/R service to be resumed as well.

As a result, 10 days into the incident, we provided an export server with their entire workloads installed. Some months later, once the customer had decided on a replacement architecture and had provisioned, and thoroughly tested it, they exported their workloads from our server, moved them to their new platform, and returned our server.

We experienced a SAN failure in only my second week in my new role as Head of IT at Campbell Lutyens. Previous experiences of Disaster Recovery included solutions that did not work anywhere near as seamlessly as advertised. Fortunately, the Plan B solution does. Our platform was accessible in 36 minutes with no changes to the IT infrastructure required. Importantly, it performed equally well during all three phases: invocation, user access and restoration of live services. The team at Plan B are professional and provided a great level of support throughout. Finally, we were able to use the Plan B infrastructure as an interim platform, whilst we procured a replacement SAN. This allowed us time to procure the correct solution rather than make a distress purchase

Justin Fitzgerald, Head of IT