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West Country Vending Redundant Server System

Key Business Benefits:

  • Redundant servers mean hardware failure is not catastrophic.
  • 3-stage protection against data loss.
  • Off-site replication means data is always protected, even in the event of fire or theft.
  • In the event of a disaster, key business systems can be run up at the branch offices in minutes, with minimal data loss.

UPDATE: May 2011 - Due to continued growth of the business, together with aging hardware, WCVS had an additional requirement for more servers. Currer Web Consulting has since consulted on and installed a fully virtualised system, based on Vmware vSphere 4 software and Dell Poweredge Server and Powervault iSCSI SAN storage solutions.

We have peformed a physical-to-virtual migration on all the existing server workloads, making use of a single existing VM for Microsoft Exchange, and creating new VMs where required, based on Windows Server 2008 R2, for all other services. These VMs are now run on a fully redundant server platform within the WCVS data center, as well as being replicated offsite using the previously configured SQL Server Log Shipping mechanism. Both Currer Web Consulting and WCVS are confident the new system will be sufficient both in redundancy/reliability and performance to fit the requirements of the company for at least the next 5 year period.

Since 1967, West Country Vending has grown to become not only the largest vending operator in the South West of England, but also one of the largest regional suppliers of vending services in the country. Working in an inherently technical field, WCV obviously relies on it's I.T. systems. These comprise of a standard Microsoft-based Windows network running Exchange 2003 for email services, as well as a trio of business applications, one of which is the industry standard CRM package Goldmine, running on the SQL Server database platform.

Since entering the "information age" several years ago, the Company was based on a single-machine Small Business Server setup, with one server handling the entire workload. A catastrophic failure on that server hardware, and the resulting downtime, was an unpleasant reminder of how important a disaster recovery plan is for a modern day business.

Currer Web Consulting was contracted to reduce the risk in the I.T. portfolio of the Company by implementing a disaster recovery strategy, as well as deploying a redundant server setup and near real-time replication of critical business data using the SQL Server 'log-shipping' facility. The company is now protected from server failure not only by a redundant server setup, but also by data replication to multiple branch offices, as well as by improved conventional tape and disk backup routines.

In real terms, this means that even if the main office of the Company was burnt to the ground, the core business-critical systems could be brought back online in less than 1 hour. What's more, a maximum of only 5 minutes worth of actual work would be lost.