At small companies, where IT staff is often kept to a minimum, timely and responsive vendor tech support is everything. And when support becomes a problem, many small and mid-sized organizations get frustrated and often start shopping for new vendors who are willing to provide the level of support and responsiveness they need.
That’s what happened at the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi (MACM), a provider of professional and premises liability insurance to physicians. With about three dozen employees, including an IT manager with a lot of responsibilities on his plate, the 32-year-old Ridgeland, Mississippi-based company sought out a new data protection vendor after several years of unresolved issues with its solution provider.
“We had ongoing problems with the product that caused us to sometimes have to recreate our backup jobs. That’s a big deal for a company of our size,” said Alan Jones, IT manager at MACM.
With some guidance from the company’s hardware vendor, Jones looked into alternative solutions and ultimately found Yosemite Technologies, a provider of data protection solutions.
“Once I started talking with Yosemite, I had their attention,” he said.
Exploring Backup Options
At the time MACM was considering a new backup solution, the company was using Symantec’s (NASDAQ: SYMC) Backup Exec, doing full backups of three servers that held data from applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and a SQL box used for network management tasks. Jones was doing disk-to-disk differential backups Monday through Thursday and full backups to tape that took all weekend to complete — about 150 to 200 GB in all.
MACM runs Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Server on Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) hardware. While the company was working with three servers, there were imminent plans to add a new application and a testing solution, which involved doubling the number of servers.
It seemed like the right time for MACM to move on to a new data protection solution. “Being a Dell shop, the first thing I did was to see what products Dell recommended,” said Jones. Sticking with a vendor recommendation seemed to be a good way to avoid product incompatibilities.
There were three vendor recommendations: Symantec, CA (NYSE: CA) and Yosemite.
“I had actually looked at Yosemite briefly once, but never really gave it any real attention,” said Jones. “I was ready to take a more serious look.”
And he did. Jones talked to a sales rep, saw a demo of Yosemite’s Backup Unlimited for Windows, and ultimately gave the product a trial run.
The product met the organization’s criteria which, according to Jones, was to do disk-to-disk-to-tape backup; be compatible with Dell hardware; and have an easy-to-use interface to set up jobs.
“I also needed the product to be able to do a bare metal restore for disaster recovery purposes,” said Jones.
The Yosemite solution met all of MACM’s criteria. Jones also liked the vendor’s simplified pricing structure — one price to cover all servers.
Jones purchased Yosemite Unlimited Backup for Windows, a couple of licenses for the SQL module, and two licenses for the Bare Metal DR.
With a couple of calls to Yosemite tech support, Jones was able to bring the new data protection solution in-house. The biggest problem that the IT manager had was getting in his own way.
“For people moving to a new product, there is a learning curve. I basically didn’t expect the product to be as easy to use as it was,” said Jones.
Today, MACM is backing up new imaging application data in addition to accounting data and office productivity data, about 500 GB in all.
In August, Yosemite announced Yosemite Backup 8.7 with full support for Microsoft Vista and Windows Server 2008. The latest product version also extends its ability to protect virtual environments to Microsoft Windows Hyper-V in addition to existing support for VMware (NYSE: VMW), and has enhanced bare-metal disaster recovery capability, according to the vendor.
Jones is anxious to get his hands on the latest product version to see what’s new. “There’s nothing that will cause me to change vendors now,” he said.
The IT manager is looking forward to doing a complete bare-metal restore. To date, the company has only restored some files.