Data disasters happen all the time, but the reality is that few companies are equipped to handle these scenarios. Like a tsunami that strikes without warning, before you know it, your company is dealing with a major crisis while losing money at the same time. Can you afford to shell out millions of dollars to get all of your data back? Life raft, anyone? It begs the question: What solutions are being used to solve these types of problems? And how can your company prevent a disaster from happening in the first place?

Recently, IP Pathways participated in a virtual Coffee Talk series event that tackled data disaster recovery. Our CEO, Joe Shields, and NetApp’s Senior Solution Architect, John Streff, discussed how they have worked together over the last twelve years to protect IP Pathways’ customers from various data disasters. Here’s what you need to know:

What types of problems are our customers facing?

Ransomware is a big problem we see across many industries. For those who don’t know, ransomware tries to take an account—preferably a privileged account—and starts to propagate, generally encrypting files not just on the local machine but any file it can access. Once those files have been seized, the company is unable to get its data decrypted until a ransom is paid.

According to a study conducted by Sophos for its State of Ransomware 2020 report, “51% of organizations were hit by ransomware in the last year. The criminals succeeded in encrypting the data in 73% of these attacks.” Furthermore, “The average cost to rectify the impacts of the most recent ransomware attack (considering downtime, people time, device cost, network cost, lost opportunity, ransom paid, etc.) is US$732,520 for organizations that don’t pay the ransom, rising to US$1,448,458 for organizations that do pay.”

We’ve had several healthcare organizations fall victim to ransomware, and the reason we’ve been able to recover their data within minutes is because of the snapshot of technology that exists on NetApp.

One of our NetApp customers recently faced a similar data disaster. This particular company is a large state agency in Iowa, and they have utilized NetApp technology in their center for almost ten years. Before replicating their data to IP Pathways, this customer replicated their NetApp data to a well-known hyperscaler. This provided a replication target for their NetApp data but not a solution for their disaster recovery needs.  They were never able to perform a full disaster recovery test and had several obstacles to overcome before a full-scale test could occur.  High latency on their WAN connection and the complexity of working with the hyperscaler prevented a successful test.  After abandoning the hyperscaler, they chose to partner with IP Pathways for a full DR solution.  With IP Pathways connectivity and partnerships with several circuit providers, we overcame their latency issues and provided them with a full DR solution based on NetApp technology.  For the first time, they were able to bring up their critical applications, including VDI, and demonstrate to the business in the event of an unknown disaster.  This is just one of many ways to leverage NetApp technology on-premise with our cloud disaster recovery storage service.

What is NetApp doing to stay relevant?

These days, NetApp’s primary focus is on data protection. They are constantly growing their data fabric, which is an architecture and a set of services that simplifies and integrates data management. Data fabric offers a smooth and easy transition for customers who want to unleash the power of data to meet business demands and gain a competitive edge. It spans various platforms, including on-premise and cloud service providers like IP Pathways. It also delivers consistent and integrated hybrid cloud data services for data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security.

What new features can our NetApp customers check out?

At our annual Insight Event, NetApp announced that it has recently added S3 capabilities within ONTAP, which enhances a data protection solution created by NetApp. They’ve also rolled out FlexCache—a remote caching capability that simplifies file distribution, reduces WAN latency, and lowers WAN bandwidth costs. It enables distributed product development across multiple sites, as well as branch office access to corporate datasets. One of the ways you can utilize this feature is you can create a FlexCache volume off of a secondary SnapMirror—perfect for protecting your valuable data! SnapMirror replicates data at high speeds over LAN or WAN, so you get high data availability and fast replication for your business-critical applications, both in virtual and traditional environments.

The DR capabilities with NetApp, and utilizing the SnapMirror product, provide flexibility and ease of recovery. NetApp also just released a net new feature within ONTAP 9.8. One of the benefits is you can now prioritize your SAN replication workloads. In the past, the workloads were purely based on schedule, so the ability to prioritize and then pick your delta files, using the power to determine which target that they land on, is one of the new features being added. Basically, it’s all about focusing on high-end workloads in a SAN environment. And it’s the ability to perform a resync back to your production volumes very quickly, as well as consistent data integrity from a recovery standpoint.

What is the history between IP Pathways & NetApp?

When Joe Shields started IP Pathways in the fall of 2007, NetApp became one of our first partners. John Streff had joined NetApp one week prior, so he was able to work with us from the very beginning. Our goal was to become a NetApp reseller and serve as a highly technical resource for our joint customers.

NetApp was our first large-scale capital storage transaction. We did a million-dollar deal inside the first 90 days, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.”

The IP Pathways engineering team has a lot of expertise with NetApp solutions. Our director of engineering, Sean Lair, has even helped write a few of their certifications. So, when we looked at what services were essential to bring to our target market—other than our NetApp services on-premise—we started to explore our cloud product development possibilities.

The acquisition of our data center in 2014 led to us building out our data center and cloud services. Along the way, we had many customers who needed to partner with a service provider for disaster recovery and offsite data replication. To address this problem, the first thing we rolled out was Storage as a Service built on NetApp technologies. The rest is history.

What does the future hold for both companies?

At IP Pathways, we don’t ever see ourselves changing our back-end storage platform, so our solutions will be built on top of NetApp technologies. There’s a bright future ahead with NetApp, and we’re looking forward to collaborating on some exciting, creative things.

Whether you run a small company or a multi-million-dollar corporation, it’s time to take a proactive approach in making sure that your company’s data is protected. To learn about the services and solutions IP Pathways can provide, check out our website:

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