The European Golf Tour operates three of the most prestigious professional golf tours in Europe from its headquarters in the UK. The events are nearly all played in Western Europe, with most famous taking place in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France and Spain. It is also the lead partner in the internationally respected and celebrated Ryder Cup.
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Graham Gifford, IT Director for the European Tour heads up a small IT team that supports one of Europe’s most well known and loved golf tournaments. With 2-3 events staged each week throughout the year, there is no opportunity for network downtime or time to implement complex data recovery processes. There was prevailing pressure to maintain critical applications and data from the organisation’s Exchange, VMware and SQL servers. Gifford had an existing tape-based backup and recovery architecture, but it was proving a massive burden; prone to human error, difficult to monitor and hard to scale in line with the organisation’s needs. Problems were compounded for Gifford’s team, as recovery of deleted files was a time consuming and difficult process, which took up a large part of their resources and interfered with other critical work to support the organisation’s high profile tournaments.
Barracuda Makes The Cut
Gifford considered several competitor solutions, but selected the Barracuda Backup 1090 after a successful one-month trial. He explains: “We were already big Barracuda fans and had been using the company’s Web Filter and Email Security Service for a few years. We knew they were intuitive, reliable and scaleable – all the things we were looking for in a backup and recovery solution, and all the things we didn’t have with our existing product. In addition, the Barracuda Backup 1090 came with a wealth of features and functionality which other vendors couldn’t offer as an inclusive package. This made Barracuda an obvious choice.”
Gifford recalls that the installation process was simple and straightforward, and that unlike many other backup and recovery solutions on the market, there was no need to reboot the network when the agents were added to the servers. He explains: “When we installed our previous backup and recovery solution, we needed to take all our servers offline and reboot them several times before we got the system working. Even then we were never 100% sure that it was backing up everything we wanted it to.” Obviously this leaves nerves a little frayed, fear of data being lost doesn’t make for a strong game of golf.
Teeing Up The Network
Previously the tape-based solution had provided the offsite backup and recovery required by the organisation, but it came at a high price; recovery was difficult, the solution as a whole was clumsy and unreliable. Seemingly basic problems such as tape jams or incorrect tape maintenance caused big problems for Gifford and his team. In addition, any changes to the network architecture or software updates to the servers cause the backup infrastructure to go into meltdown. Gifford now has the Barracuda Backup 1090, which delivers restores either from an appliance on site or remotely from the cloud. It has sufficient in-built intelligence to accommodate any physical or software changes to the network that it protects.
[easy-tweet tweet=”Seemingly basic problems such as tape jams caused big problems for @EuropeanTour” via=”no” hashtags=”cloudbackup”]
Gifford comments: “The Barracuda Backup 1090 automates many of the routine tasks that are both time consuming and prone to human error, and it copes effortlessly with the many small daily changes that take place with a network such as ours. This has removed a lot of stress from our lives and made the day to day running of the IT department a much calmer affair.
And the best thing of all,” explains Gifford, “is that the entire backup and recovery process can be monitored and controlled from a single screen. This gives us fantastic insight into network performance and a high level of confidence that everything is running as it should be. Any problems are proactively highlighted and we can deal with them before they cause any issues for the organisation.”
The time that Gifford and his team spend on helping colleagues recover their lost or accidentally deleted files has been cut significantly – meaning they have more time to whittle away on the putting green. “It’s so intuitive,” he comments, “that everyone at the organisation can recover their own lost or deleted files with minimal assistance from us.” Previously Gifford would have had to go rummaging through the tape archive, trying to identify which particular file they were looking for. Permissions are easy to set and allow everyone at European Golf Tour to access their own files in the archive and recover them as necessary – as easily as if they were looking through a junk folder in their email or the recycle bin on their computer.
Perhaps the biggest benefit for Gifford and his team is the most simple and understated. “It just works,” he enthuses. “Don’t underestimate how rare that is in a piece of IT kit… it makes me a very happy guy.”
Perhaps that’s why European Golf Tour is now testing Barracuda’s Next Generation Firewalls and Load Balancing solutions. With a portfolio of successfully running products already in place, why wouldn’t they want to see what else Barracuda can hit a hole-in-one on?