The British Horse Society
Improvements to backup and disaster recovery (DR), to ensure business continuity.
The British Horse Society had an existing backup and DR solution that utilised an external data centre but realised it wasn’t suitable for their needs. Backup wasn’t fast enough, relying on a single 40mbps link, and it wasn’t possible to retrieve individual files or to quickly restore key systems. This was putting The BHS at risk of losing access to its systems for an unacceptable period of time, and potentially being unable to collect membership direct debits.
At a Glance
Founded in 1947, The British Horse Society (BHS) is a membership-based equine charity. It has grown to become the largest and most influential equestrian charity in the UK, with around 160 staff, 1,200 volunteers, and over 115,000 members. The BHS protect and promote the interests of all horses and those who care about them, with activities in education, welfare, access and safety.
As mentioned above, The British Horse Society needed to improve its backup and disaster recovery (DR).
Total Backup and DR supports the BHS’s 160 staff, all based at its headquarters in Kenilworth, as well as data uploaded to its CRM system by volunteers – for example, if they have taken photos relevant to a welfare concern.
The service uses Veeam software to make local, on-site backups of users’ PCs, then replicates these backups to an offsite data centre managed by Total. Every 15 minutes, this data is replicated using Zerto software to another data centre, again managed by Total. This means that backups of The BHS’s data are stored in three physically separate and secure locations, ensuring it is safe, with no need to physically move tapes or other backup media. Data can be quickly restored to users from any of the sites, and The BHS has upgraded the speed of its internet connections to avoid bottlenecks.
Management is kept straightforward for The BHS team, and everything is easy for end users. Paul Perkins, Director of Technology says, “I get really wound up by people who make technology a dark art. People work for The BHS because they love horses, not because they love technology, so things have got to be simple for our people.”
Total worked with Paul and his team to map out the possible scenarios that would require them to invoke DR or restore a backup, and exactly how they would respond. Paul says, “Day-to-day, Total manages our backup, and we can rely on them to tell us if there’s an issue.”
Director of Technology,
The British Horse Society
We have had to do a major restoration once because a patch was applied to our live CRM system in error.
We couldn’t start up the CRM system, so had to recover it from a backup. It all worked perfectly, and very quickly – our agreement specified we would get it back within four hours, but it was a lot faster than that.
In the past, I’ve worked with big IT organisations whose first response to any question is to pull the contract out – I detest that. With Total, even before we started the RFP we had conversations with them about how we were worried about our existing backup and DR, and Total gave us a lot of help to ensure we weren’t at risk – even though they knew they might not win the contract.
I would absolutely recommend Total. Their approach is fantastic, and their people are really, really easy to deal with. I’m really confident in the backup and DR solution, and it’s good that I can give that confidence to our management and trustees.