Press Release

Mid-Continent Group Transforms its IBM i Backup Infrastructure with EMC Data Domain

Completely Automates IBM i Backups, Reduces Management Overhead and Costs, Achieves 100% Tapeless Environment

HOPKINTON, Mass., June 13, 2012 - 

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today announced that Mid-Continent Group, a subsidiary of the Great American Insurance Group, has used EMC® Data Domain® deduplication storage systems to completely automate and streamline backup and disaster recovery processes for its IBM i environment. By leveraging native Data Domain support for IBM i operating environments, Mid-Continent was able to achieve a broad scope of cost savings and operational benefits, and manage their data growth without the need for tape.

Mid-Continent's use of the EMC backup and recovery product portfolio spans both its open systems environment and IBM i environment. For its open systems, the company deployed EMC Avamar® deduplication backup software and system, EMC Networker® unified backup and recovery software and Data Domain systems. With the introduction of native support for IBM i environments, Mid-Continent elected to extend the success it first experienced with EMC Data Domain to its IBM i environment.

Customer Benefits:

  • Dramatically Improved IBM i Disaster Recovery Times—Eliminating tape helped Mid-Continent reduce its disaster recovery time from 4-5 days to approximately 4 hours. In addition, disaster recovery testing for mission critical IBM i systems and data is now simple, predictable, and repeatable.
  • Fully Automated IBM i Backup—Mid-Continent's IBM i environment now requires no human intervention for backup or recovery verification. Time is no longer spent managing tape-based backup processes or locating and transporting tapes for recoveries.
  • Cost Savings and Tape-Free Backup and Recovery—With its implementation of Data Domain systems for IBM i backup, Mid-Continent has achieved significant savings on tape library hardware maintenance and tape transportation service costs, while fully eliminating physical tape across the enterprise.
  • Scalability with Reduced Power, Cooling and Data Center Footprint—Mid-Continent is now able to address its 40% annual data growth and has replaced multiple racks of backup equipment with a Data Domain deduplication storage system, saving on power, cooling and space requirements.

Customer Challenges and Solution:

Prior to engaging with EMC to implement next generation disk-based backup and recovery solutions, the Mid-Continent Group IT team was feeling the pressures associated with protecting data that was growing at 40% annually. Its tape-based backup infrastructure was expanding exponentially and hundreds of tapes were constantly in a state of rotation between its data center and an off-site 3rd party tape storage facility, requiring resources to manage and cover offsite shipping and storage costs. The addition of a virtual tape library provided some relief, but backup storage requirements continued to mushroom as its data grew, while recoveries from tape remained a protracted four-to-five day process.

Mid-Continent's IBM i PowerSystem houses mission critical data and applications, including rating, accounting and statistical systems that are vital to its insurance business. The company currently uses EMC Symmetrix® Remote Data Facility (SRDF) software for synchronous replication of data to a disaster recovery site, where backups are performed. Mid-Continent was able to use their existing IBM BRMS software to back up their IBM i system data to a Data Domain deduplication storage system to eliminate tape completely, realize significant improvements in its backup and recovery processes and dramatically reduce capacity requirements.

Customer Quotes:

John Pullen, IT Development Manager, Mid-Continent Group

"With tape being used, the DR timeline for our IBM i series was 4-5 days. In our latest DR test with EMC backup and storage technology, we were up and running in four hours. With Data Domain, we've completely automated our [IBM i] backup. No hauling tapes. No misplaced tapes. No costs associated with off-site storage. No chasing our data growth or adding power and floor space. We back up about 9.5 terabytes of IBM i data every night, and it's easy for us to keep a year's worth of IBM i data online."

John Gunnells, Senior iSeries Administrator, Mid-Continent Group

"Four years ago, we were backing up to a huge tape library. We were managing hundreds of tapes and were always behind the curve in terms of backup. Then we engaged with EMC and began to implement their next generation disk-based backup products. Our IBM i system data, however, remained a challenge and we had to maintain these legacy systems to address backup and DR for our IBM i environment. Thankfully, with the availability of the Data Domain solution for IBM i systems, we were finally able to go completely tapeless—and it's been great. EMC has provided the right solution for us every step of the way."

Brock Lyons, System Admin Manager, Mid-Continent Group

"The Data Domain solution has been one of the most cost effective enhancements we have implemented in my time at Mid-Continent. We were faced with expanding our data center footprint by 12%, adding additional power, and adding a significant amount of heat at two sites. With the Data Domain solution we were able to shrink our footprint, avoid additional power costs, and reduce the amount of heat in our data centers."

Additional Resources:

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