Simplicity and reliability is all Pfizer wanted from its data protection solution. That is why it relies on Attix5's Backup Professional solution to safeguard the data on more than 250 devices, including desktop PCs, notebooks and servers located in Cape Town and Johannesburg. With offices and personnel in these two centres, the South African arm of the pharmaceutical giant focuses its operations on marketing and distributing an extensive range of human and veterinary healthcare products.
According to Charl Smit, infrastructure manager at Pfizer South Africa, the company initially sought a solution which would be user-friendly even for non-technical people. "We wanted to protect data on notebooks and desktops, but we wanted something that would give users the ability to restore information themselves, if necessary," he says.
Smit says the company specifically did not want to use tape libraries.
"Tape makes it difficult for the user to retrieve their data. It also introduces a further administrative and logistical overhead in that the tapes have to be stored offsite for effective data protection," he says.
Through research, Smit says the Attix5 Backup Professional solution was identified. "What got our attention is the offsite storage of data in a secure data centre. The fact that users can dial in and retrieve lost data from the past six months through a very simple interface made it the ideal answer to our needs," he says.
Backup Professional creates an image of selected files on a remote storage platform, hosted by Attix5 in secure, off-site data centres.
Using compression and encryption technologies, it securely and automatically backs up user files. Designed for bandwidth-constrained South African conditions, it uses very little capacity by only updating those files which have changed since the previous backup.
Smit notes that it is at the point of restore that the true value of a backup is appreciated. "We wanted to put the power of the restore squarely in the hands of the user. With Backup Professional this was no problem, since the password-protected interface is easily understood. We provide user training and publish procedures to them and to date, we have had no complaints at all about the system," he says.
Noting that the proverbial proof of the pudding is in the eating, Smit says there have been instances where data loss has occurred. "My own notebook was stolen in an office move. I am happy to say that all the data which was stored offsite was quickly restored to a new machine, including my Outlook files and other valuable information."
Given the success of using the technology on the personal desktops and notebooks of company executives, Smit says the solution was soon extended to protect information contained on key servers within the company's infrastructure. "We are satisfied that Attix5 is a preferred solution for reliable backups that work at the point that matters most - the restoration of lost data," he concludes.