Nathan Sielaff, system engineer at World Vision, is responsible for backup, storage, and beyond. He strives to create a flexible and agile IT environment, so the organization doesn’t need to worry about underlying infrastructure and can focus its efforts on its mission.
Tell us about World Vision and the organization’s mission.
At World Vision we believe in a full solution to poverty and injustice. We provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by disasters and conflict, partner with communities for long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor. This is a complex problem, and requires a true community effort to create an impact. We bring sponsors and donors together with children and communities in nearly 100 countries. As responders in the face of world disasters, we have to ensure we are agile and able to connect people at any time. Our areas of impact range across clean water, child protection, disaster relief, economic development, education, food and agriculture, health, domestic empowerment, faith, and gender equality.
How does your group support the organization in its mission?
We strive to provide a stable IT infrastructure to fully support our organization when disasters strike around the world, we must be able to run our operations when such events occur. In order to ensure our infrastructure is flexible, available, and expandable on demand, we are moving our infrastructure toward a loosely coupled, cloud heavy architecture that is able to withstand individual component failure and quickly rebound. We want to ensure our business decisions are not limited by an IT architecture only able to run on an unresilient, tightly coupled infrastructure. We want products throughout our entire technology stack that enable our organization to send the maximum amount of funding into the communities that most need it. We don’t want sunk-costs tying up our capital so we are deploying SaaS and PaaS solutions where available and leaning on an elastic cloud strategy to be fiscally responsible.
What is your plan for backup and recovery as part of this philosophy?
Rubrik allows our organization to be storage agnostic, we no longer have to tie our backup, recovery and archival operations to specific storage vendors. We aim to protect our data with the most efficient technology out there, and having tried Rubrik, we know we can create further efficiencies to allow us to focus our organization’s efforts on our primary mission.
How are you able to improve your economics with Rubrik for backup and recovery?
Thus far, we have been tied to a single vendor for both our primary storage and our backups. We had to pair additional software in order get the workflow to function, and our total costs were mounting, especially related to our off site data center. By shifting to Rubrik, we are able to not only improve our economics on the backup piece, but are free to pursue savings in other portions of our infrastructure as well. We are able to pursue our push to the cloud and are in the process of setting up off prem DR and archival at AWS instead of a custom built CoLo. We have already seen an impact to our business by being able to save a ½ FTE’s time. Putting that in terms of our business: through World Vision, donors can sponsor a child and support the well-being of a child in need from another country. This is an ongoing commitment of $39/month. These savings could be the equivalent of supporting 500 children for a year.
What are you looking forward to the most with Rubrik?
Everything. If I had to pick four things though, they would be:
- Simplicity: What attracted us the most is the simplicity, and the way everything just works. The dashboard shows us exactly what is happening and where everything is, and with our data managed through Rubrik, we now have peace of mind that it is in good hands.
- Live Mount: We can now easily live mount our virtual machines right off Rubrik, and restoration has become much quicker. This would have been a hacky process with our previous solution, but now it is simple and fast.
- Cloud Integration: The native integration with cloud storage allows us the agility we are seeking within our infrastructure. We are not tied down to specific storage vendors and can make the best decisions for the business.
- Global Search: Universal indexing and search allows us to take advantage of on-demand storage for restoration purposes. We don’t have to know ahead of time exactly where a file is before looking for it.