Ten years ago, CBPP wanted to not only back up end-user data, but they wanted an assurance that all of that data could be restored within very tight RTO and RPO requirements. Gabe DiSarro, CIO for CBPP, remembers looking to improve on the backup systems they had in place at that time.
DiSarro recalls that they were “hopping from one technology to another." Over the years they deployed everything from tape manually rotated to off-site storage facilities to on-prem BDR servers uploading to co-located data storage. The solutions used included Veeam, ShadowProtect, and even CrashPlan.
However, to get the data protection management system they wanted as new technologies emerged, they found themselves “rolling their own” solution. For instance, using Veeam and ShadowProtect to back up to local NAS storage, synchronized to Amazon S3, and then archiving to Amazon Glacier. They imaged endpoints to local NAS appliances before using the NAS software to mirror the backups to off-site disaster recovery servers. As DiSarro put it, “Meeting our various business requirements for data recovery while ensuring we were always utilizing the best technologies available, created a maintenance and management environment that was untenable. We were always either in the design or deployment phase of the next technology."
DiSarro recalled that previously, testing and managing backups for IT took up a significant portion of his time. He still remembers the details of the work: “From the bad old days of tape for accounting systems that needed to be reliably archived off-site, labeling, rotating, transporting to a secure facility, then eventually co-location and various cloud alternatives. It was a laborious and risky part of what IT did."
DiSarro didn’t want to use a second-tier solution. He knew CBPP was a growing company that needed a scalable enterprise solution. As DiSarro put it, “I was looking for a backup and data protection solution that the company was not going to outgrow."
His reasoning was that if he picked a solution that exactly fit the company as it was at that moment, there would always be an amount of effort, danger, and risk as the company grew. He explained that when you start to work with a new product, “Your knowledge is really limited. There are all sorts of holes. You don’t know what you don’t know, and that creates a danger." That’s why DiSarro likes living with products that they can mature alongside over long timeframes.
The team at CBPP is very lean — only three people manage the infrastructure. So, it was important to DiSarro to find a partner vendor who was “at the top of their game and are experts in what they do” since they would essentially act as another team member.
700 independent real estate agents and the 100 employees that support them are DiSarro’s customers. Every agent is an independent contractor, essentially a CEO of their own company. DiSarro’s IT team keeps in mind that just one Excel file could be essential to someone’s function and productivity. Once the company adopted Microsoft 365, DiSarro needed to ensure that his team could recover that one Excel file or even entire laptops, restored as closely as possible to the failure point not only in terms of the data, but the configuration as well.
DiSarro explains that occasionally the team must help restore crucial documents important to closing on a home. As DiSarro puts it, “In our company, IT’s charge is not just to do IT stuff. It is to impress all of our customers, both the realtors and actual clients who are buying and selling."