SEP Case Study: Mediaprint

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SITUATION

Mediaprint GmbH & Co. KG is the largest newspaper and magazine publisher in Austria, printing approximately 18 million copies of Austrian newspapers weekly, or 936 million per year, at ten locations spread throughout Austria. A massive quantity of raw material must be purchased, organized and distributed to accomplish this feat. In fact, over 5 million pounds of newsprint, 28,000 kilograms of ink and 30,000 plates are consumed weekly.

The staff of writers and artists create thousands of articles, editorials, graphic representations, artwork and photographs weekly that all need to be backed up for reference and cataloging.

In addition, the accounting, marketing and sales staff input customer information to create 4 TB of data per week. The company’s data volume is so massive that Mediaprint employs 12 clustered nodes (from 2 to 7 servers each) and 50 servers around the country to secure data from 2,300 workstations used by company employees.

CHALLENGE

Mediaprint needed a backup solution that would secure their enormous volumes of continuously expanding data in a complex environment. They had a decentralized data
backup and recovery environment that required a great deal of manpower to administer.
The desire was to replace this system with one, easy-to-manage, centralized solution.

SOLUTION

When the IT staff began looking for a backup solution, their first goal was to be able to manage all of their data from one location, instead of trying to manage critical data at each remote site individually. Speed, accuracy and security were also primary concerns in backing up their data. Mediaprint’s IT staff initially considered and evaluated eight vendors. However, four of those vendors, Bakbone, ARCserve, Backup Exec and Atempo, were immediately dismissed due to lack of desired features. Mediaprint began the final selection process and reviewed the remaining four products, SEP sesam being one of them. After extensive review and thorough testing, SEP sesam was the only software to pass all of their tests.

The vote from the 14-member IT staff was overwhelmingly in favor of SEP sesam. “SEP sesam delivers all the desired functionality for the best price,” reported Marcus Geyer, Mediaprint’s director of IT Infrastructure Systems. “Compared to other vendors’ solutions, SEP sesam is easy to install. It’s also intuitive and does not require expensive training to become acquainted with the overall implementation and capabilities of the software. SEP sesam was the only company that met all of the specifications we required before even beginning our planned due diligence. Comparing license costs, maintenance and support expenses, SEP sesam was by far the clear winner over the competition.”

RESULTS

The SEP sesam implementation was completed by in-house IT staff and has since resulted in freeing up about 65% of time previously spent monitoring or fixing problems with the old backup product. Since March, 2008, all data from Mediaprint’s entire enterprise have been seamlessly backed up using SEP sesam. The installation and integration of SEP sesam was completed using Mediaprint corporate IT staff, which had a significant effect on the ROI, since they didn’t have to pay for professional installation services from SEP. The total cost for the project came in significantly under budget and the integration of the new backup solution was completed in less time than originally projected. A significant portion of this successful implementation was directly due to the architecture of the SEP sesam GUI. “The GUI is well-conceived, uncomplicated and well-designed. Once acquainted with its overall versatility, our engineers were able to roll out multiple installations in record time,” said Geyer.

“Almost half of our production systems are running Novell NetWare 6.5; the other servers in the organization are running Windows and Linux. SEP sesam is one of the few backup software solutions that provide full NetWare support, without requiring a dedicated backup client that must be installed on the respective NetWare Server. This reduced the overhead and expense significantly,” reported Geyer. “The seamless integration of the other Linux and Microsoft servers using the same GUI was an added bonus,” he stated.

Another positive result of selecting SEP sesam was the fact that Mediaprint’s production systems did not have to be modified. “The backup software integrated seamlessly into our existing environment. It connected every nuance and feature within our infrastructure. This proved a godsend to our IT department during updates and conversions. Furthermore, the planned mothballing of our older system was not required. We were able to test every function within our system, without ever losing time or data,” Geyer added.

Due to the large volume of production data generated weekly by the combined file, print and mail systems and GroupWise servers, the backup takes place on ten distributed systems. Three are in Vienna and the other seven are scattered around the country.

At the Vienna 23 location, Mediaprint installed the SEP Master Server. From that central data center, the master GUI centrally manages, both controlling and monitoring, the entire backup system for the other 90 servers and 10 subsidiary locations. The daily production generates 4 TB of data that is backed up to disk and then uses Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape technology, which is then transferred to the LTO3 tape drives which hold a combined 76 TB of data. All data volumes are backed up to Vienna on a regular basis using SEP sesam CDP technology.

Vienna 7 and Vienna 19 are used as disaster recovery locations where the data from the main data center is replicated, stored on disk arrays and then migrated to two other 76 TB tape libraries. The IT department has further assured company continuity by sharing data between the three data centers using a “worst case” scenario. Data centers are mirrored using the enterprise SAN and SEP sesam data shadowing software. In the event of a disaster or system failure, the secondary data center can take over operation for the main data center.

The production data from each Austrian state is transferred over the SAN to Vienna 7 and is synchronized with the data store at the central location. This capability creates an enormous advantage for Mediaprint, since only 6 TB can be stored on DLT320 tape drives in the field. Therefore, their limited field storage capacity can be overcome by backhauling all vital company data to both the central office and to one other location in order to obtain a secure and reliable copy of the backups.

Marcus Geyer and his team developed the design and implementation framework for the centralized backup solution. They were able to implement their plan under their projected time estimates and well below their desired budget. The administrative overhead for the IT staff was reduced by over 65%, from over 23 hours to fewer than 8 hours per month. SEP sesam was extremely cost-effective during the acquisition.

Additionally, SEP sesam drastically reduced costs for both support and maintenance expenses. In fact, the maintenance costs for the backup solution proved to be an annual savings of over 70% of previous expenditures.

The decision to move to SEP sesam has never been second-guessed and, in fact, has been validated many times over at the Austrian firm. “SEP has reliably provided us with the most professional and extensive support, helping us evaluate the software and supplying technical support, while implementing the most complex of technical solutions. SEP even helped us work with other software vendors, finding errors in their programs and making sure, through their relationships with these vendors, that errors were corrected quickly. Since our purchase, our impeccable relationship with SEP Software Corp. has not diminished whatsoever. SEP’s personnel are always ready to help us in any capacity, whether it is with additional software improvements or interfacing with our vendors to assure software reliability and quality,” Geyer stated emphatically. “The availability of SEP support and engineering, along with their unrivaled competence in the backup world, continually reminds us that the decision we made in 2008 was the right one. SEP has genuinely listened to us over the years and has exceeded our delivery expectations; expectations we were beginning to think were impossible to reach. Other vendors promised much in the past, but delivered nothing,” said Geyer.

“We recommended several add-on features to the SEP sesam product. Instead of finding the deaf ear we received from our previous supplier, we were overjoyed with the response from the SEP design team. Most of our recommendations for the GUI were incorporated almost as fast as we brought them to the attention of the SEP team. We often served as a test environment because we knew the upgraded product was at a level we could implement without fear. Even when errors were reported, the software edits and changes were delivered in a timely manner that is not expected in the software world today. We were no longer used to this type of service; we didn’t think it existed,” said Geyer.

ABOUT MEDIAPRINT

Mediaprint GmbH & Co KG is Austria’s largest publishing house, as well as the largest privately held media empire. Among the many publications they are responsible for, the daily and weekly delivery include the two leading daily newspapers, “Kronen Zeitung” (Crown News) and “KURIER” (Courier), as well as many regional dailies like the “Neue Kärntner Tageszeitung” (New Corinthian Daily).

ABOUT SEP SOFTWARE CORP.

SEP has been delivering the widest range of backup products for enterprise level customers since 1996. With thousands of installations worldwide, SEP has developed the fastest and most reliable data-backup solution available today. SEP sesam is ideal for businesses of all sizes and has proven its value for thousands of organizations across the globe. From banking to retail to education to healthcare and more, SEP sesam delivers unsurpassed performance. US and Canadian Governments, as well as many other governments around the world and thousands of customers spanning six continents, rely on SEP sesam to attain their data protection strategies.

For more information, visit www.sepusa.com or email info@sepusa.com.

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