Juan Ramirez, Vice President of Information Technology at the Tampa Bay Rays, discusses how Rubrik transformed the game of data management, ensuring operations run smoothly both during the season and offseason.
Tell me about your role at Tampa Bay Rays.
I’m the Vice President of Information Technology at the Tampa Bay Rays and am responsible for the Rays’ technology strategies and operations. I joined the team in 2006 and am heading into my 10th season. When I joined the department, it was just myself and an assistant. Since then, the department has grown greatly from 2 to 12 people.
What challenges were you experiencing with backup prior to Rubrik?
Backup has always been an issue around here. Our previous solution was very cumbersome, and since our business grows so fast and is very sensitive, keeping up with the changes on a daily basis was a struggle. Particularly, we had a lot issues with tape and backing up to disk. Also, the recovery and response times were never there. We have 350 VMs, and we try to protect as much as we can. The baseball operations and workloads are the most important to us. Thus, if anyone needs to restore a file from hours or even months ago, we need to retrieve it efficiently and fast. The previous solution didn’t give us that. It could take anywhere from six hours to four days to retrieve the file. By that time, it was no longer needed.
We needed something fast where we didn’t need to worry about networking, storage, and recovery. Rubrik gave us that from Day 1. We saw how robust the solution was, how easy it was, how much time we saved, and how flawlessly it worked. In one hour, we had Rubrik installed, and by the end of the day, 30 machines were already being protected.
How are you using Rubrik, and what benefits have you seen?
We are using Rubrik for local backups and archiving to AWS. We plan on introducing a second unit for replication to our DR site. In just two months of having Rubrik, our SLA had changed drastically. We went from telling everyone to request a restore in 48 hours to merely minutes. Now, we can go home and sleep!
One of the features that we appreciate the most is the amount of data reduction we are seeing on the unit. We are getting a 93.9% data reduction. When we see those numbers on a daily basis and how easily it integrates with VMware and Nutanix, it gives us a lot of peace of mind. Another thing we enjoy is the ease of use and the dashboard. In a second, I know everything is running. Protecting a workload has never been easier. For example, there was an incident a few days ago. We were able to bring up the VM and have a solution in 30 minutes — thanks to Rubrik. It saved us a lot of time and money.
We also went from spending 3-4 hours a day on backups to 10-20 minutes a day – if even that. We had three people managing the previous solution, and now, we only have one person just to double check.
How has Rubrik made an impact on Tampa Bay Rays beyond your team?
The fact that we can now do our job without affecting our other business units is paramount. The game is only 3-4 hours, but it takes a lot of preparation, and many people depend on that. Backing up, replicating, and protecting all that data is important. With Rubrik, we know that we can handle time-sensitive requests, such as accessing/restoring a database for a specific date and time needed for the next game. No longer having to worry about restores makes a huge difference in our day-to-day operations.
What savings have you seen with Rubrik?
We can easily show an ROI in our investment in less than a year. The savings we are seeing are due to the ease of management and reduction in resources we need to assign to it. Also, the data here is so important that if we can save a day or even an hour, it translates to a lot of money. We know Rubrik can pay for itself in weeks. Previously, between the tape loaders, licenses, and disks, we were easily spending $80-100,000 a year.
Any future plans with Rubrik?
We would love to incorporate it into our replication, DR, and testing and development. Since it’s been in production, we knew we had to grow it. Rubrik continues to provide.
What do you do with your time now?
Providing services that make a difference on the field. I don’t worry about backups anymore.