The client

Founded 21 years ago, Salmon is a leading multichannel digital agency in the UK, working with clients in the UK and overseas. They focus on delivering world class e-commerce solutions for their clients who are generally tier 1 retailers. Customers include Argos, Pets at Home, Boots and Halfords. Salmon prides itself on adding value to its customers’ day-to-day operations.

The business continuity challenge

A few years ago they started to look at their disaster recovery capabilities and their need to ensure that they could guarantee service and support to their clients 24/7/365 days a year. The company appreciated that as well as the usual threats affecting IT operations, other incidents such as power outages, fires or floods can impact the availability of IT systems – and seriously damage the brand reputation of the business. Salmon originally employed an off-site data backup facility to provide IT systems recovery in the event of an outage. However, restoring its systems involved a lengthy manual rebuild and recovery process – which wasn’t ideal for business continuity. This potential downtime and loss of business was not an option for Salmon’s 200 staff members whose focus is on delivering customer projects, nor their customers who would be directly impacted by a loss of their e-commerce solutions. After an internal IT review, Salmon’s existing disaster recovery (DR) approach was deemed expensive, with limited capabilities. Salmon wanted the ability to bounce back almost instantly if any type of disastrous incident occurred. This meant that the company needed a leading-edge, DR system in place that could provide near immediate access to working recovery systems, from any location. The DR service also needed to be cost-effective, simple to use and highly flexible.

Finding the perfect DR solution

Salmon had been in the process of migrating its systems, using VMware technology, to a virtual environment and liked the idea of capitalising on virtualisation for their DR. However, they also felt that outsourcing the DR capability to a specialist would provide a higher level of accountability and be more cost effective. Salmon reviewed a number of services and decided that Plan B offered a clear best fit for their requirements. A key factor in favour of Plan B being chosen was their extensive experience of making systems work in a new environment and their unique process that continually validates that recovery systems are working and guarantees restoration in minutes – after an outage. As part of a trial to enable Salmon to test the solution before committing, Salmon were able to carry out a full test invocation of their recovery systems. The Exchange environment took under 15 minutes to boot up and Salmon were then able access the systems via a VPN, and test every aspect to ensure they were fully working copies of their live servers. Following this success, the Plan B service was expanded to protect nine of Salmon’s servers that run its critical operations including, call centre, email, file servers, HR and accounts applications.

Key Benefits

Jeff Leaver, COO at Salmon said, “The Plan B system is simple to set up and requires minimal input to keep the service working. We are pleased that we now have a great DR system in place and are enjoying the peace of mind this brings. Invocation is a phone call away and Plan B’s support staff are highly experienced and very helpful.” Salmon’s business systems are now protected by the DR service and the company has a best practice approach to ensuring comprehensive business continuity for its operations. The company is now assured that its staff can respond and recover from incidents as quickly and effectively as possible. Leaver concluded, “Being an IT services company, technology is our business and having a best practice DR system is important for our customers, especially as it helps us deliver an excellent, consistent service. We are now confident that we have a DR system that enables us to experience business as usual – even if we experience a major IT outage. The Plan B service is fantastic – it really works, is very cost effective and represents superb value for money.”

Watch Jeff discussing Plan B’s services with our Managing Director, Tim Dunger

On the few occasions we’ve had to reach out and use the service in anger you’ve been there, you’ve provided that support and, as required, 30 minutes in and we’re up and running.

Jeff Leaver, Chief Operating Officer, Salmon