Aston Martin wanted to improve business continuity and build a remote secondary data center. To support these goals, it chose a Windows Server 2012 R2 disaster recovery and multisite replication solution and a Windows Azure-based management console.
With this fully automated, easily managed solution, Aston Martin expects to quickly restore IT applications and services, reducing planned and unplanned downtime from days to hours.
Aston Martin sports cars are known for their authentic craftsmanship: all models are handcrafted using advanced production techniques and technology. To achieve the kind of optimized IT operations that keeps the company at the forefront of design and
engineering excellence, Aston Martin chooses Microsoft technology.
Aston Martin used the Windows Server 2012 operating system with Hyper-V virtualization technology and Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 to build four private clouds. It also launched an Active Directory Domain Services environment running on Windows
Azure, which provides on-demand compute, storage, and networking capabilities to host web applications in Microsoft data centers.
However, with only one data center, located at its Gaydon headquarters, Aston Martin wanted to improve business resiliency and disaster recovery (DR) through multisite data and services replication. “We didn’t have a fully evolved, automated DR strategy,”
says Mark Green, a Windows Support Analyst at Aston Martin. “We use System Center 2012 to back up our virtual machines, but if we actually experienced a failure, everything would have to be restored manually. Depending on the situation, this could take days
or weeks. Obviously, that’s not good for the business.”
Creating recovery plans for different environments and workloads was a manual process for the Aston Martin IT team that required it to adhere to the correct order of failover for the workloads involved. “We tested our recovery processes in the lab, and we
had to do each failover manually. It could take a couple of hours to bring everything back online correctly,” says Green. “We needed an efficient, automated solution to help streamline the opening of a second data center and to expedite recovery should a failure
Aston Martin joined the Windows Server and System Center 2012 R2 Rapid Deployment Program to explore the latest business resiliency capabilities within Windows Server 2012 R2 and the latest version of Hyper-V Replica, which replicates virtual machines
over IP-based networks to a remote site. Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 R2 offers more flexible replication intervals and adds the possibility of replicating virtual machines to a third site.
||The manufacture of our luxury sports cars depends on a reliable technology foundation. That’s why we chose a Windows Server 2012 R2 business continuity solution.
| Mark Green
Windows Support Analyst, Aston Martin
The IT team chose Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, and System Center 2012 workloads to test a live disaster recovery scenario.
“We had great support from the Microsoft Services Consulting team, which shared its expertise and provided access to resources we needed,” says Green. “We deployed four host servers in our lab and in our target DR at our Gaydon site. We will use Hyper-V
Replica to replicate the workloads hosted on 12 virtual machines every five minutes across a 10-gigabit Ethernet network connection.”
The IT team used Hyper-V Recovery Manager, a Windows Azure data service, to coordinate virtual machine replication between the sites and orchestrate workload-specific recovery plans, including network mapping to help ensure resources of the primary site
are mapped to resources of the recovery site.
“Hyper-V Recovery Manager was easy to set up. It simplifies the Virtual Machine Manager functionality in System Center 2012,” says Green. “We are using Recovery Manager to validate our DR plans and we’re using Windows PowerShell for automating more advanced
recovery procedures, ensuring the services will recover in the right order. We configured five-minute replication intervals to restore workloads quickly and to a point that does not interrupt our core business.”
When Aston Martin opens its second data center, it will use Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V Replica and Recovery Manager as the foundation for a new business continuity strategy. Aston Martin is also interested in configuring extended replication to
a third, smaller data center at Gaydon for its most mission-critical workloads.
“The manufacture of our luxury sports cars depends on a reliable technology foundation. That’s why we chose a Windows Server 2012 R2 business continuity solution,” says Green.
Facilitates Strategic Disaster Recovery Planning
Using Windows Server 2012 R2 as the basis for its business continuity strategies will help streamline the introduction of a second data center. “We’ll be able to allocate resources that we might have used on storage infrastructure and third-party DR
solutions into building a state-of-the-art secondary data center,” says Green. “We wouldn’t be moving ahead as quickly with our DR plans if it weren’t for the enhancements to Hyper-V Replica and Recovery Manager.”
Simplifies IT Administration
The IT team at Aston Martin is happy that Hyper-V Recovery Manager does not require complex firewall configurations since all communications stem from Virtual Machine Manager and all business data remains within the Aston Martin infrastructure. “For
a complex enterprise environment like ours, Hyper-V Recovery Manager is easy to use,” says James Yeomans, a Windows Support Analyst at Aston Martin. “We can customize our recovery plans using PowerShell scripts and Recovery Manager does all the behind the
scenes configuration to run them automatically.”
Aston Martin expects to quickly restore IT applications and services following both planned and unplanned downtime. “Instead of it taking days or weeks to manually bring back services, with Hyper-V and Recovery Manager it’s only going to take minutes
to bring the services back online,” says Green.
Even if one site goes down, Aston Martin IT staff will always have access to the Hyper-V Recovery Manager, running on the reliable, scalable Windows Azure platform, to orchestrate recovery. “All I need is an Internet connection to sign in to Windows Azure
and initiate the recovery process immediately—that’s the beauty of Microsoft-based hybrid cloud computing,” says Green.
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