CASE STUDY

How Achievement First Leverages Veeam + Wasabi for Fast, Economical Recovery

June 15, 2023By Carson Barcome

Achievement First, which operates 35 charter schools across New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, needed an effective but economical backup solution to ensure business resiliency. The educational institution has a hybrid-multi cloud storage architecture spanning on-premises infrastructure, including HPE servers and Pure Storage devices, connected to cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. According to Rob Martin, Senior Director of Network Infrastructure and Security at Achievement First, using their existing cloud providers as storage for their Veeam backup solution was cost prohibitive. With Wasabi, Achievement First has realized a truly disaster-proof backup solution at an affordable price.

Achieving Absolute Redundancy Without Breaking the Budget 

Achievement First wanted to be as resilient as possible in the face of disasters, including system failures, natural phenomena and cyberattacks like ransomware. “Redundancy was the ultimate goal,” explained Martin. He felt he had several options to reach redundancy, such as standing up an on-premises backup server to stand as a “cold storage” server for disaster recovery.  

There were several things that could have been improved with this approach. For one thing, it was not genuinely redundant. A physical event, such as a fire, could cause them to lose their backups. It was also an overly manual approach to business resiliency, which did not align with the company’s lean IT strategy.   

Instead, Martin realized they needed a cloud-based storage solution for the company’s backups. “If anything were to happen on-premises, we need to ensure that those backups would not be impacted locally,” explained Martin. “We needed to be able to restore from cold storage backups that did not live on-premises.”    

Martin’s team considered using their existing cloud platforms as storage for their Veeam system. Though this model was adequate for their requirements, the charges they would have faced for data egress made it untenable. “The traffic fees would have been a cost killer. Simply testing our backups would have come at an unwelcome cost,” said Martin. Because Achievement First tests its backups every quarter, egress charges from a cloud provider would have resulted in a charge per object tested.   

Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage + Veeam for Economical Resiliency  

After reviewing its choices, Achievement First went with Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage as the storage target for its Veeam backup solution. Wasabi + Veeam supports Achievement First’s data retention policy, which involves storing six weeks’ worth of data at any given time.  

Price was a significant consideration. Martin said, “When we were setting up our backup solutions, we compared the price points of Wasabi to the S3 buckets of Amazon, Azure, and Google Cloud. And because of traffic fees and other transaction costs that these providers charge, Wasabi was certainly the most cost-effective option. The total cost was not even comparable to what it would’ve cost us with alternatives.”  

Wasabi offered a significant architectural advantage, as well. Martin says, “One of the main benefits of Wasabi in our use case is that there is no single site fail point. With backups stored in Wasabi, we won't lose them if my site goes down. But I lose everything if it’s on-premises. Thus, we need cloud storage for backups. It's absolutely essential.”  

Additionally, Martin was impressed with Veeam and Wasabi's integration and partnership. “Wasabi and Veeam work together fluidly and naturally when configuring backups and adding a scale-out and repository,” said Martin. “I think Veeam and Wasabi work well together,” Martin explained that setting up Wasabi took minutes, helped by guides from Wasabi and Veeam on how to do it. He shared, “It was very clear, very simple, not a lot of complicated steps to get this thing working. And testing Veeam and Wasabi was a straightforward process as well.”  

I was really impressed with Veeam and Wasabi's integration and partnership. It's just very fluid. It's very natural when you're configuring your backups and you add a scale-out and repository.”

Rob Martin, Senior Director of Network Infrastructure and Security at Achievement First

One feature that stood out to Martin and his team was Wasabi’s Object Lock capability, which makes objects immutable and untouchable from ransomware threats or bad actors. Martin likened Object Lock to a bank vault. He said, “Veeam would be the police that come in after the bank is robbed. They’re looking for signs and clues to figure out what's going on. Wasabi is the vault. It’s what kept the money safe in the first place.” 

Resiliency: “Anything we put in Wasabi is untouchable to threats like ransomware.” 

Deploying Wasabi + Veeam enables Achievement First to be genuinely resilient in the face of disaster. Martin said, “Anything we put in Wasabi is untouchable to threats like ransomware.” He characterized Wasabi + Veeam as “retroactive tools for us that would be used more after the fact.” With the solution in place, he said, “If we were to get hit with a ransomware threat, we could restore rather than have to go and try and pay someone to decrypt. We can restore within minutes, and it's as if it never happened.” 

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