Case Study: Sirius Helps QC Holdings Transform with Cloud-based Disaster Recovery Solution Based on AWS

QC Holdings, Inc.

Founded in 1984, QC Holdings, Inc (QCHI) was founded in Kansas City, Missouri. QCHI specializes in alternative financial services with a keen focus on credit solutions for underserved consumers and small business. QCHI operates in the United States and Canada with more than 250 retail locations

The Challenge

In late 2018, QCHI was at a crossroads. Its existing backup, archive and disaster recovery (DR) infrastructure needed updating and its data requirements and storage capability storage were growing at a fast pace. The longtime Sirius client in the highly competitive financial services market decided to look at leveraging public cloud for archive and DR for their on-premises footprint. They also wanted to free up time for IT resources to shift focus from routine maintenance to strategic application development for mobile and user-interface initiatives—and meet QCHI customers’ high expectations for digital interaction.

The Solution

Instead of a refresh or upgrade of its Dell EMC Data Domain and Avamar technology, QCHI tapped Sirius to help explore new technologies that could meet its modern-day demands. In partnership with Sirius, QCHI determined the requirements to meet current and future needs and selected Cohesity as its new backup standard.

Examples of those requirements include:

  • A solution that would work with VMware vSphere 6.5+
  • Ability to archive on-premises backups to an off-premises object store
  • Ability to search for individual instances as well as individual files
  • Ability to restore in Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Policy-based backups
  • Policy-based archives
  • Must have an API
  • One user interface for on-premises and cloud targets

Cohesity archive to AWS

AWS was QCHI’s chosen platform because of its continual delivery of new and innovative technology and close partnership with the client and Sirius. Cohesity was selected as the new solution because of its ability to rapidly place Tier 3 architecture into the public cloud and its varied API that allows clients to take advantage of cheap storage. In addition to a very simple interface, Cohesity simplifies backup by extracting the level of complexity and simplifying user management.

With the new backup strategy, all backups are now stored on-premises via Cohesity and AWS Glacier. By sending a copy of their backups to AWS Glacier, QCHI reduces its physical on-premises storage requirement and enables low-cost disaster recovery options along with shorter RTOs.

A Protection Policy (Cohesity construct) was set up to use the Cohesity CloudArchive feature to archive backups out to AWS Glacier. The current protection policy takes a snapshot (backup) every 24 hours. These backups are stored on-premises on the Cohesity cluster for 30 days. At the same time, Cohesity uses CloudArchive to archive the backups to AWS Glacier.

Cloud integrations were a key factor in the selection. With Cohesity, QCHI can leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS) integrations to send backups out to AWS as well as leverage AWS in the event of a disaster.

As part of that solution, QCHI wanted to leverage the AWS integration to send backups out to AWS as well as leverage AWS in the event of a disaster. 

The Benefits

With its Cohesity-based solution, Cohesity was able to rapidly get its current three-tier architecture into the public cloud.

In the event of a disaster, Cohesity will utilize the Cohesity CloudRetrieve and CloudSpin features. CloudRetrieve will be invoked from a newly deployed Cohesity Cluster deployed on AWS EC2 (assuming the on-premises one is no longer accessible). CloudRetrieve will pull the data out of AWS Glacier into the Cohesity cluster. From there, CloudSpin will be invoked to convert the VM’s needing to be recovered into EC2 instances. Once the conversion is complete QCHI will have access to run and operate their recovered environment on AWS EC2 QCHI is able to cost-effectively archive their data and stand it up in AWS environment as needed

The Results

With the Cohesity + AWS DR solution QCHI will realize a $50,000/year cost-savings over their previous solution. QCHI now has a simplified backup process and interface, operational efficiencies, and a state-of-the-art DR program. QCHI also has an agile platform at a minimal cost to test and develop new applications at a rapid pace. QCHI IT staff are freed up to focus on strategic applications that will attract and delight its digitally savvy customers.

By |2019-04-04T17:07:18-05:00March 26th, 2019|AWS Storage|Comments Off on Case Study: Sirius Helps QC Holdings Transform with Cloud-based Disaster Recovery Solution Based on AWS

About the Author:

Josh Coen is a Cloud Solutions Architect with Sirius Computer Solutions.