This week, I chat with Steve Bunch, Server and Storage Manager at Wabash National, on how next-gen backup helps Wabash in its quest to keep America’s leading fleets operating efficiently.

Tell me about your role at Wabash and how you landed there.  

I’ve been working at Wabash for 12 years, right out of college. I started answering phones with the Tier 1 support team, worked my way up the chain, and left to get some server, backup, and virtualization experience. I received a call from Wabash with an offer to re-join as a server admin. The company was  starting to diversify and acquisitions were a part of the strategy, which meant plenty of help was needed to standardize data center environments. The team grew from 3 to 14 people, and I was promoted to Server/Storage Manager, handling everything from servers, storage, virtualization, and business critical applications.

What type of backup challenges were you experiencing?

Our company is active in M&A activity, which means we acquire lots of different data centers and IT stacks. It wasn’t until I brought in a backup administrator to streamline our multiple backup solutions and firmware upgrade process that I realized how challenging backup was! It took 1 year to deliver consistently good backups at our eight data center sites after we dedicated one full-time employee to managing our backup infrastructure. The backup software solutions we were using were outdated, required multiple patches, frequent firmware updates, and hands-on management of day-to-day backup jobs. With backup storage, it was an endless cycle. Each year, we would add another shelf, which meant more dollars spent on power and cooling in addition to disk.

What sold you on Rubrik?

Rubrik’s ability to intelligently utilize public cloud resources was extremely appealing. We saw the opportunity to limit our power/cooling spend on-site by using cloud. While we had moved off tape four years ago, we were still stuck dumping our data to our increasingly large collection of physical disks.

How has Rubrik helped you overcome your challenges?

We used to spend 6-8 hours setting up a new site backup environment, and then ensuring jobs completed successfully on a daily basis. We got Rubrik up and running in 30 minutes. Once we had it running, we threw our highly transactional SQL applications onto the system. Exchange used to take an hour to backup using our old backup software. Now it takes ten minutes to backup our Exchange environment. We’ve also eliminated the app stun effect for SQL/Exchange – we go from backing up once every night to once every six hours now.

Locating files and applications is night and day when comparing Rubrik to our previous solution. I don’t have to go back to the customer and ask for the exact file path. It took a while to dig in and find the file. With Rubrik, I’m already searching as I type the file or application name. This increases our recovery times by 5-10x.

How has recovery improved?

We can spin up VMs now in seconds and have them running before I even log into our ESXi console. No degradation in performance either. Previously, if I had to bring up an Exchange server, it would not be functional for end users until we Storage vMotion’d to our production SAN. This took up to 45 minutes to get it up and running.

What TCO improvements with Rubrik have you seen?

We are seeing a 60% improvement in TCO, this traditionally CapEx spend has moved completely to OpEx with our utilization of cloud storage.

Any future plans with Rubrik?

During our POC process, our DBAs were interested in how Rubrik ran backup tasks for Exchange and SQL. They were interested in having the freedom to run their own backups and restores. We ran a few object-level recovery tests with SQL boxes, taking a row out of a table. Our DBAs were amazed at how easy it was to backup and recover.

We loved Rubrik’s cloud story, and are now actively archiving to Amazon AWS. Going forward, we’re eager to investigate Rubrik for our ROBO use cases.

Download the case study: Wabash National Modernizes Data Protection.

Watch the video: Wabash National Modernizes Backup and Unlocks Cloud.