Altonet use HP solution for National Airways Corporation
National Airways Corporation (NAC) is the largest general aviation company in Africa, offering a full range of aviation services including aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, parts, charters, international operations and pilot training.
The company is headquartered at Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg, with offices across the country in Cape Town, Durban, Grand Central Airport, Wonderboom Airport and Rand Airport.
This distributed environment, along with a host of compliance regulations from both an internal and customer perspective, made backup and data protection a challenging prospect.
When NAC identified several weaknesses with its current backup strategy it turned to Altonet which is one of South Africa’s leading first tier Web Hosting and Data Networking companies offering world class Internet services as one of the most advanced dedicated network environments in the country. It is also a Black Economic Empowerment company.
Andrew McGurk, Manager: IT at National Airways Corporation, said: “Previously, we were using a combination of different manual backup processes. These were inefficient and time consuming, and were not compliant with a number of standards as laid out by our customers, which consist of large international organisations with stringent processes and requirements.
“For auditing purposes, our existing strategy was not sufficient. The weaknesses in our backup strategy also became apparent after we experienced a system failure. Altonet worked with us to find the most cost effective solution to our problems, and we selected the HP Autonomy LiveVault system as a result.”
Each of the six NAC sites was previously responsible for its own backup, and there was no centralised service to ensure this occurred. Adding to this challenge, the area where the company’s head office is located frequently experiences unstable power, with dips and spikes causing data loss despite a backup generator being in place. The area is also prone to theft, which means that physical data loss is also a concern for the company.
HP Autonomy LiveVault helps to address these issues by combining proven disk and online technologies to deliver a fully managed service in the private cloud that automates, streamlines, and reduces the complexity of server backup.
As a cloud solution, LiveVault is geographically independent, and provides automated and continuous backups from all sites to minimise the burden of managing the complex and error-prone manual data protection process. Recovery of data is also automated, as users can select the data to recover from a catalogue of archived file versions, and LiveVault automatically restores the data to the selected location.
Gareth Tudor, Chief Executive Officer of Altonet said: “Each NAC site will make use of an onsite backup appliance, as well as centralised cloud backup and data protection. This will ensure that data can be restored quickly in the event of an incident.
“Furthermore, the data is stored offsite for risk mitigation and compliance purposes. This also offers the inbuilt redundancy required for compliance purposes.
“In order to minimise the upload time of the data, we will physically transport preconfigured servers to each site to complete a full backup via the Local Area Network (LAN). These servers will then be moved into the Altonet data centre in Isando and a local onboard of data will be conducted. From this point, incremental backups will be conducted online and to the onsite backup appliance to ensure that data backup remains up to date at all times,” he explained.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”