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Shoden Data Systems installs QuickRecover disaster recovery solution for Sainsbury
 John Taffinder, CEO of Shoden Data System UK
Shoden's QuickRecover solution allowed Sainsbury's to significantly improve its Disaster Recovery process

Shoden Data Systems UK, an innovative provider of server and data storage solutions announced that it has helped retail giant Sainsbury's plan and implement a highly resilient, high-performance backup strategy for mainframe and open storage. As a result the retailer has lowered the cost, footprint and energy consumption of the 250 TB of backup data hosted within its IT infrastructure, while making backups run on time and with increased accuracy.

Today Sainsbury's has 890 stores offering approximately 30,000 products and a work force of 150,000 helping to serve over 19 million customers each week; this translates into a market share of over 16%. In addition, the retailer's internet-based home delivery shopping service is available to nearly 90% of UK households. Such impressive numbers demand an impressive IT strategy, which Shoden delivered; by installing its QuickRecover solution for combined mainframe and open systems environments in two data centres together with an open systems solution in a third location, the system integrator allowed Sainsbury's to significantly enhance its Disaster Recovery (DR) process while curbing rising costs and floor space requirements.

Tim Neale, Sainsbury's Mainframe Services Lead, said "We chose Shoden's QuickRecover to address an immediate and growing set of problems: our ATL tape maintenance costs were rising rapidly; we had an aging infrastructure approaching its end of life and we were suffering increasingly unreliable tape media. One of our data centres was also running out of floor space. Other vendors offered new or different tape-based solutions, but we were attracted to Shoden's bold approach to move us to disk-based backups using best-of-breed technologies such as Data Domain and Luminex alongside its own management software."

Sainsbury's relies on its IT systems to offer the best possible customer service especially in terms of choice and availability of products in the stores and online, where shoppers can place orders 24/7; for these reasons Neale's team needed a very high-performance and resilient storage infrastructure that would not let them down. So after evaluating a number of options, the team selected Shoden's QuickRecover for its stability, early ROI, ease of use and most importantly, post-sales service and support.

QuickRecover supports all mainframe applications plus the ones dedicated to the store-replenishment system, a fundamental one for the retailer

"We were shown how powerful and flexible QuickRecover is, and were able to see for ourselves that mainframe data can gain significantly from de-duplication. However, the key benefits for Sainsbury's are the ability always to be able to restore without worrying about the integrity of the tape media, much faster write performance and, most importantly for us, we now have a backup environment within which we can actually test our DR properly. Shoden's approach of using just one configuration in a 19" rack to manage our entire mainframe environment and our expanding open systems platforms was also very attractive," continued Neale. "I was relieved that no changes had to be made to our z/OS, JCL, applications or backup methods as everything continued to work transparently. We have now completely moved our mainframe backup environment onto a disk-based platform, and met our needs of recovering floor space and reducing costs."

Within the large environment comprising of mainframes, UNIX, Wintel and Linux platforms, QuickRecover supports all the mainframe applications including that dedicated to the store-replenishment system, a fundamental one for the retailer. The Shoden solution, set up to detailed specifications, now generates daily, weekly and monthly reports on performance, de-duplication rates and quantity of data and the customer is already looking to expand its use into archiving in addition to backup.

"The brief that the Sainsbury's team gave us was very clear: we needed to strengthen their backup and DR strategies and make them more cost-effective on several levels, without moving away from the infrastructure that was already in place" said John Taffinder, CEO of Shoden Data System UK. "To add to the challenges there was a change freeze policy in place towards the Christmas rush as well as the increase in pressure on the IT systems around the World Cup that we had to work around. It was a demanding set of criteria but one that we handled smoothly and successfully."

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