Customer Story

Sharks Sports & Entertainment changes the data protection game with Druva and the cloud

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Faster to deploy Druva in the cloud than an on-premises solution


Less time managing backups with Druva compared to competing solutions

About customer

Sharks Sports & Entertainment (SSE) is the premier sports and entertainment organization in Northern California. Located in San Jose, SSE is the parent company to a number of high-profile sports franchises, most notably the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL), and San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL). SSE also manages the SAP Center at San Jose, home to both the Sharks and Barracuda, as well as more than 100 live events each year, including concerts, family shows, and other sporting events.

The Challenge

Established in 2000, SSE oversees all facets of business operations for the aforementioned teams’ properties, as well as management of Sharks Ice at San Jose, Sharks Ice at Fremont, and the Oakland Ice Center, three public ice facilities located throughout the Bay Area.

According to Neda Tabatabaie, VP of Business Analytics and Technology at SSE, the small IT team is tasked with a huge responsibility — managing the IT infrastructure for two professional hockey teams and multiple properties. To facilitate its growth and keep the backend infrastructure consistent across SSE properties, the three-person IT team began implementing a cloud strategy five years ago.

“We understood the importance of cloud and being more agile and flexible,” Neda said.

Bill Boccio, Infrastructure Engineer at SSE, added context. “A few years ago our infrastructure was starting to age, and with the stability of Microsoft 365, we decided to migrate off of Exchange on-premises.” The team saw an opportunity to move 400 staff to Microsoft 365, but knew it needed to replace its existing on-premises backup solution, which included Veritas Backup Exec and another Veritas product for email journaling.

The Solution

To back up its Microsoft 365 environment, which initially included Exchange, the team did not want to provision and manage hardware so it immediately ruled out Veeam.

“We needed auto provisioning for our Microsoft Azure Active Directory connection, and we wanted a single pane of glass to manage backups so that we weren’t spending time logging in to multiple platforms,” said Cara Browning, IT Systems Manager at SSE. “Druva checked all these boxes.” That included being simple to set up and manage.

The team also really liked Druva’s automatic status updates. “With Druva, all I have to do is look at the email updates and it says exactly what action I need to take, if any,” added Boccio.

The Druva deployment was at least 15x faster than rolling out an on-premises solution, and delivered the security features the team needed. Role-based access controls (RBAC) help the team enforce compliance and security requirements while enabling self-help restores. Additionally, integration with single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions ensures holistic identity and access management across the organization.

“It took us less than half a day to roll out SSO, MFA, and auto user provisioning,” Browning said. “It would have taken several months to roll out an on-premises backup solution, that likely wouldn’t have included the full protection suite that Druva delivers.”

The Results

SSE onboarded all 400 users to Microsoft 365 for Exchange before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Soon after, Druva gave the team the confidence it needed to quickly and cost-effectively roll out SharePoint and OneDrive, giving staff a seamless transition to working from home. Tabatabaie said, “With only one support call, Druva enabled our IT team to seamlessly transition 400 users to SharePoint and OneDrive across locations without extra costs.”

“We’re not provisioning, purchasing, or managing hardware, and we’re not paying for off-site storage,” said Tabatabaie. “It’s an optimal, cost-effective solution.”

Equally important, the team is saving management time. Boccio said the team cut its time managing backups in half with Druva. “I last logged into the Druva console six months ago. The weekly email reports show me that everything is working. Other backup products we have in use require me to log in every single day, but not Druva.”

That gives the team time for more strategic work. “We can focus on what the business really needs right now, which is preparing to reopen for in-person events, supporting staff, and researching new technologies,” Tabatabaie said. “That’s why we love Druva. We will always be tied to our physical venues, yet tools like Druva help us to be agile and flexible, and maximize the benefits of the cloud.”

Going forward, the team is confident about backing up more data in the cloud. “We know we can bring other applications into Druva and feel comfortable that our data is secure, and that we’re compliant with the regulations we need to be,” Tabatabaie added.


  • Druva’s central management console enabled the team to quickly and cost-efficiently add OneDrive and SharePoint data to its backups when COVID-19 struck
  • A single pane of glass through which IT can manage backups and restores of Microsoft 365 data, including Exchange Online, OneDrive, and Sharepoint
  • Microsoft 365 files are backed up directly from Microsoft Azure to Druva on Amazon Web Services (AWS), with no on-premises hardware or software required