The growing popularity of new kinds of social networks and online interactions has given rise to a number of innovative companies that provide services and tools to develop online communities.
One example is 3Jane Digital Holdings, which sells software products, tools and consulting services that enable global companies such as E*Trade, Walt Disney, and Electronic Arts to develop some of the most sophisticated social networks in the world. The company offers end-to-end project management and services including design, development, infrastructure, content distribution, audience growth and advertising representation.
The company has created a wide variety of social networks for customers. Two examples are The Skinny: Fat Free News and Comedy.com. The Skinny is an online TV property that appears on MySpaceTV. The Skinny viewers can browse show archives, vote on shows and interact with other show fans. Comedy.com is a social media destination that marries popular social networking with Digg-style functionality, which appeals to comedy fans of all types.
Backing up Large Volumes of Data on Heterogeneous Systems
Variety and pace-of-innovation of 3Jane's customers is reflected in the complexity of its IT infrastructure. The environment consists of a wide variety of Linux and Windows servers, Microsoft Exchange and homegrown applications. 3Jane has several database driven applications utilizing MySQL spread across several servers. MySQL implementation extensively leverages MySQL replication for performance, providing data services to various critical applications. These MySQL databases needed to be backed up without having performance impact on the applications.
Recognizing the very high value of dynamically changing content being stored on its servers, 3Jane also wanted a scalable and cost-effective off-site backup solution. Instead of creating their own remote storage infrastructure, they decided to leverage Amazon S3 Storage Cloud.
To solve this issue, 3Jane purchased Amanda Enterprise (AE) and Zmanda Recovery Manager (ZRM). Amanda Enterprise was installed on 15 Linux servers running various versions of Fedora, two servers running Windows 2003 & 2008, and one Microsoft Exchange Server. ZRM for MySQL protects seven MySQL Database servers.
"We use Amanda Enterprise and Zmanda Recovery Manager to create backups and data restores (when needed) for all of our enterprise data," Jerry Spindler, vice president of business development, 3Jane. "Enterprise-wide data is saved locally and a duplicate copy is stored on the Amazon S3 cloud off-site for disaster recovery purposes."
Spindler added that in addition to creating and hosting social networks, the custom development consulting services offered by 3Jane also create large volumes of data that need to protected and made continuously available.
Prior to implementing the backup and recovery solution from Zmanda, 3Jane lacked centralized management capabilities. When additional servers were added to the network custom level setups were required. AE's ease-of-use and seamless integration enabled 3Jane to create new backup sets and allow for centralized management of all backup and restores.
Competitive Analysis and Cloud Backup Requirement
3Jane's IT management team conducted an extensive evaluation of Symantec/Veritas and Amanda Enterprise. AE had the best-cost entry point and was the least intrusive to the company's daily IT operations. The alternative solutions required more build-out architecture whereas AE worked seamlessly with existing hardware. In addition, the Zmanda Backup to Amazon S3 option was perfect for 3Jane's off-site backup needs for disaster recovery.
"Deploying AE dramatically reduced the amount of time we spent to develop and maintain custom backup and restore solutions for various architectures within the enterprise," said Rob Egan, vice president of Operations, 3Jane. "The ease-of-use of both AE and ZRM allowed us to save time and money training IT staff who were responsible for managing the backup and restore scheme."
Zmanda Support Services Assists with Implementation
3Jane utilized Zmanda's customer support team to assist with the integration of AE and ZRM into the existing corporate infrastructure. "Zmanda's support personnel were very knowledgeable, thorough, and genuinely interested in reaching a fast and complete solution to any problems we encountered," concluded Egan. "Each time we needed a patch or some advice, the support team found the right solution for us."