National Express switches to remote online backup

Coach company ditches tape for encrypted disk-based online solution.

National Express, the coach and train operator has moved its data backup and disaster recovery operations over to an externally-hosted online solution.

The company has deployed a system from UK backup company Thinking Safe. Its online backup product that transfers data over the internet to remote hard disk-based storage. Beforehand, the company backed up data to disks in servers, then streamed that data to tape.

This required multiple tape devices and tape rotation management. Before choosing online backup, National Express considered traditional tape library systems but decided that a disk based solution was needed.

The new solution involves backing up data to a local disk-based backup appliance running Thinking Safe's software. The data is compressed, then encrypted using AES 256-bit key lengths at source. National Express has two datacentres in Birmingham, each with a local backup appliance. Encrypted data from the local appliances is then replicated to Thinking Safe's datacentre outside of Birmingham.

David Jones, Head of IT at National Express said the solution enabled the company to "backup all data quickly, effectively and securely with minimal downtime on restore. This helps to contain costs, by reducing the time we spend on administration, and it allows us to invoke Disaster Recovery plans much more easily."

Ed Jones, Managing Director of Thinking Safe said that companies like National Express are looking for a software solution which ensures higher levels of systems availability.

"We bring together fast local disaster recovery, snapshot copy, and the replication and synchronisation of backup data onto a single platform. Security is not the only driver; we also help address the compliance, data availability and under-resourcing headaches facing IT Directors today," he said.

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