Do it yourself?

Last year I finally decided to take that two-week hiking vacation in the Alps. I had two alternatives to plan the trip; “build my own itinerary” or choose an inclusive guided tour.

Aug 17 Haute Route Day 8-38.jpgTo plan everything myself there were a lot of details to consider. I wanted a route with challenging trails but not so strenuous that I would miss the amazing scenery. This meant I needed to study detailed topographical maps to plan the route. Find and make reservations in twelve different hotels along the way. Mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable so I had to be prepared with alternative routes and backup plans. A few planning mistakes would jeopardize the chance of returning rested and relaxed. Without first-hand knowledge of the Alps, the “build my own itinerary” option looked pretty risky.

The alternative was an inclusive tour with an expert guide to take care of the day to day activities. Finding a tour company and an itinerary that met my aims would take much less time than planning everything myself. If we ran into unexpected weather or problems I would be safer with someone who had experience in the area. I could also learn about the local environment from a guide with experience in the Alps.

This Alps planning experience reminded me of a recent conversation I had with one of our NetBackup appliance customers.

Two years ago, she took a new job expecting to manage, what she was led to believe was a state-of-the-art backup environment and immediately had a rude awakening; the backup success rate was extremely low; less than 60% (the company could not afford to fail 40% of the time). The company built their own backup infrastructure, integrating backup software, operating system, servers, storage, networking and RAID from different manufacturers. She was on-call 24 hours a day/7 days a week, ruining many a weekend, to keep the home-grown infrastructure up and running. The backup environment functioned but was not optimized, leading to extremely low success rates and a lot of effort to keep it going.

She quickly realized the whole infrastructure needed to be replaced. The first decision was to build the infrastructure herself or bring in integrated NetBackup Appliances from Veritas.

She used Veritas NetBackup appliances at a previous job and achieved a success rate near 100%. Veritas has years of experience integrating NetBackup Software with hardware and optimizing configurations for the best performance. The integrated appliances are easy to deploy and were up and running in a few hours.  Veritas AutoSupport sent alerts about potential issues before they happened. She could call Veritas with a problem and it was quickly resolved.… and spend her valuable time on other projects

The alternative was to build the backup infrastructure from scratch. This involved specifying each component; backup software, operating system, server, storage, networking and RAID, all from different manufactures and integrating them together. It was a daunting task; her expertise is running a backup environment not the specifications of all the components. She realized that optimizing the integration would take an enormous amount of time testing different software and hardware configurations. From her experience with the current home-grown infrastructure she knew that resolving any problem would involve calling multiple vendors who would blame at each other’s component for the problem. Her decision quickly became obvious.

She waged a successful campaign to bring in NetBackup appliances. The success rate immediately jumped to 90% and with refined administrative processes are now close to 99%. The organization is very happy with the decision to move to NetBackup Appliances.

What did I decide for my trip to the Alps? I chose a guided tour. I enjoyed the scenery, had great hikes and learned a lot about Switzerland and the Alps from the guide. My success rate was 100%