DR Infrastructure Case Study
Freeit Helps Cameron County Build Powerful Disaster Recovery (DR) Infrastructure
Advanced disaster recovery (DR) technologies help protect crucial IT systems against Texas weather
Go to the southernmost point in Texas and you’ll find yourself in Cameron County, home of Brownsville and Harlingen. You’ll also find yourself on the Gulf Coast, where wild storms have wreaked havoc on homes and businesses for generations. Protecting the IT infrastructure of Cameron County from those storms is the responsibility of Juan Saldaña, the county’s IT Director.
“Here in South Texas, we’re in the middle of hurricane alley,” says Saldaña. “And while we all hope nothing will come our way, we have to be prepared in case something does.”
A devastating storm had recently blown in off the Gulf of Mexico, crippling IT infrastructure all along the Texas coast. Saldaña didn’t want the same thing happening in Cameron County, where citizens and employees rely on critical applications for communication and emergency services. While the county had a robust backup strategy in place at the time, the technology for restoring data and operations was not where it needed to be.
Cameron County turned to Freeit, an Austin-based IT services and solutions company, to help build out a remote disaster recovery site with rapid restore technologies that would help keep the county up and running.
The Freeit solution consisted of two main components: HPE Nimble Storage and Zerto continuous data protection software. Freeit also hardened the county’s Veeam virtualization backup platform to better protect against sophisticated cybersecurity threats.
Nimble Storage was a natural choice for the disaster recovery site, as it was already being used in the county’s primary data center. “The ease of management is great on that product, so adding a second one was a no-brainer,” says Saldaña.
Zerto, however, was a new addition to the mix. Prior to using Zerto, the county would’ve had to spend hours restoring backups at the DR site, trying to get operations back up and running. Zerto does it with the click of a button.
“The Zerto product was kind of an amazing idea. That’s one of the solutions that Freeit brought to the table, this product that literally with a single-click allows me to restore operations at our DR site almost instantly. That’s something we’ve never had. That was a deal-maker.”
Finally came the hardening of Veeam, which the IT team uses to backup virtualized components of the infrastructure. Making sure the backups aren’t susceptible to ransomware was another concern Saldaña brought to Freeit. “It doesn’t do me any good to have all these backups if one ransomware attack can come in and take them out,” he says. Freeit was able to tap into advanced Veeam functionality to configure the software for maximum protection against new and evolving security threats.
Saldaña says the county has been very pleased with the solution, and that the implementation has tackled their needs. “It works – it’s that simple. In fact, we’re getting ready to renew for another year.”
“Disaster recovery is like insurance,” he adds. “You’re glad you have it, and you hope to never have to use it.”
As for the services Freeit provided, Saldaña says what he appreciated most was the personal attention he and his team received. “A project like this is definitely easier when you’re comfortable with the consultant. We’ve worked with large consultants in the past, and with a lot of them, you’re just a PO and a number. With Freeit, I felt comfortable enough to reach back out to them when I needed to. That’s impressive.”