Funtastic is one of Australia’s leading distributors of toys, sporting and confectionery products. With some of the world’s leading brands in its portfolio, including Razor, Cabbage Patch Kids, LeapFrog and Pillow Pets, its products are greatly in demand with Australia’s leading retailers, such as Big W and Kmart. Funtastic also has international operations with offices in Hong Kong and China, where it develops its own brands such as Chill Factor and Pop Tape for distribution to the global marketplace.
For such a large business, an unexpected IT outage for any length of time would cause the business serious damage, both operationally and financially from lost orders through to loss of data in their ERP system.
Funtastic was struggling to find a disaster recovery solution that would meet its needs in terms of restore times, the company’s Group Manager of IT, Stuart Bennett said.
“We were looking at Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), which is how long to restore the system, and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), which measures how long you have data loss for in the event of an outage,” Bennett said. “A lot of the competing products we were evaluating showed results against these objectives of fifteen minutes, which wasn’t really good enough.”
Funtastic hasn’t experienced an outage to date, but Bennett was concerned that in the event of one, the company could be looking at a catastrophe, if not a business-ending event.
“When I started here four years ago, I was given a document that was out of date, and I sat down with my boss at the time, the CFO, and went through where the document had flaws,” Bennett said. “One of those concerns was the DR, and I explained that we need to make sure the business is protected with disaster recovery so if something happens here the business can keep running. Because we’re a public company on the ASX we have corporate governance requirements that made it an easy sell.
‘It’ was Brennan IT’s replication solution. A specialist in enterpriseclass business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for virtualized IT infrastructure and cloud environments, the Brennan IT Cloud DR solution replaces traditional array-based DR solutions that were not built to deal with virtual IT environments. By investing in the technology, customers gain access to far faster restores in the event of an outage, and this in turn means much less data loss.
“In comparison to the 15 minutes that existing vendors could offer, with Cloud DR, we were getting restores in 6, 10, 15 seconds. So if something happens here there would be much less impact on the business,” Bennett said.
Because Cloud DR is such a new product to market, Funtastic participated in a pilot program with Brennan IT before making the investment. Around eight months ago, the company created a sandbox environment to test the solution. In that environment, Bennett and his team were able to perform a complete DR test on its ERP system. They were able to boot up the system in under 10 minutes, and could see transactions processed within the past minute before the test took place, which met the DR requirements of the business. These results were so impressive that Bennett moved from the initial intention to move five or so virtual machines to the Cloud DR solution, to moving the bulk of them over. With 12 servers already being protected by Brennan IT (a rollout that was achieved in just a week), and Brennan IT now providing DR solutions for 5TB’s of Funtastic’s critical data, Bennett said that he would be looking to move more in the future.
Why Brennan IT?
As one of the first local resellers of the Zerto DR solution, Brennan IT continues to be a progressive company that provides innovative solutions to solve the unique needs of its customers, Bennett said.
“They’re not a large organisation, so they specialise in providing services to small to medium sized businesses, and listen and understand their needs,” he said.
It was for this reason that Funtastic has been steadily increasing the number of services that it relies on Brennan IT to provide, Bennett added. “When I started at Funtastic we were dealing with a number of vendors for both our hardware and software solutions, and one of my key priorities has been to consolidate that vendor list to one or two key providers, and we opted for one of those to be Brennan IT for the depth of services it can provide us. Now, in addition to Cloud DR, Brennan IT supplies us with our IT and WAN services to our offices in Hong Kong, and it also manages all our software licensing and hardware procurement.”
In addition to a greater sense of security, Funtastic has benefited in other crucial areas as well, Bennett said. The solution itself is more user friendly, meaning the Funtastic IT team can log in and see what is happening much more quickly and efficiently than had been previously possible.
Furthermore, the investment in the technology is now saving the company money. “The cost is working out at a couple of thousand dollars a month, and that is much cheaper than the solution we were previously using,” he said.
“A lot of businesses don’t’ look at recovery or DR because it is perceived to be so expensive,” Bennett added. “But it’s important to have minimal data loss. For businesses that do e-Commerce or transactional-type work especially, it should be seen as a business-critical investment.”