Housing Works

Case Study


Housing Works reduces backup and restore times by more than 90 percent.

Housing Works is dedicated to ending the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain its efforts.

The Challenge:

Ankur Patel, IT director for Housing Works, received a luncheon invitation from an Authorized STORServer Reseller to discuss backup and recovery solutions. The timing couldn’t have been better. The organization had been using Symantec Backup Exec software to backup data to a tape library, when it found that it couldn’t recover data from one of its tapes. “We had a small electrical fire in our office that damaged a file server,” recalls Patel. “Our tape backup failed and we had to re-input all the data. It took three IT people more than two weeks, which delayed other projects. We wanted a new approach that would deliver better business continuity and that could relieve us of the manual backup processes we had.

The Solution:

Following in-depth discussions with the reseller, Patel selected the STORServer Instant Restore Appliance, which integrates IBM hardware and Tivoli Storage Manager FastBack® software into a single, easy-to-install, easy-to-use solution that substantially reduces backup and restore times and improves data protection. “Our primary focus is to serve our clients, so we looked for a solution that enabled us to protect our data with little effort,” says Patel. “With this approach, we can really ‘set-it and forget it.’ We can easily restore a single file for a staff member or an entire server from bare metal. We can also now backup everything from servers to workstations. And we can tailor retention policies for each application to meet our organization’s requirements.”

The STORServer solution was installed for Housing Works in just 20 minutes, providing ongoing support as needed. “Any other solution would have required integration between the software and hardware,” says STORServer Reseller Partner, David Goldstein. “The STORServer appliance combined IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Fastback software and IBM systems and storage hardware in a preconfigured, pretested appliance that doesn’t require a lot of time to install, learn or manage. In fact, in our followup survey, Housing Works gave a 100 percent higher rating for the solution’s ease of use and a 350 percent higher rating for support than they gave their previous solution.”


According to Patel, the solution helped reduce the time and cost of backup and recovery processes, while improving data protection. The benefits were immediate and included:

A fourfold increase in number of systems being backed up. “Before, we only had time to backup five to seven production servers,” Patel says. “Now all our servers, about 20, are protected, along with board member laptops.”

A more than 95 percent decrease in daily backup times through the use of smart data movement technology. “Daily backup times have gone from 8 – 12 hours for seven servers to 2 – 30 minutes for 20 servers,” says Patel.

A more than 90 percent decrease in restore times. “We can now restore files in an instant and perform a full server restore in under four hours,” says Patel. “In the past it could take us 1 – 2 days to accomplish the same work.

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