Dynacraft gets new backup

Data backup is a breeze now for Malaysia's Dynacraft Industries, where information is the lifeblood of its business.

If you've got a problem that keeps occurring, you've got two choices: find a way to fix it or live with it.

Dissatisfied with the poor technical support and unreliable data backups it was getting from its existing storage product, Dynacraft Industries decided it was time to do something about it.

Malaysia-based Dynacraft Industries, one of the largest producers of lead frames in Malaysia as well as the region, counts the major suppliers of electronic products among its customers which have some of the most demanding business requirements.

Cheng Kok Wah, Dynacraft's MIS manager, told ZDNet Asia that it was time to replace its existing storage product with another technology that backs up data more easily and cost-effectively.

After evaluating several storage products, Dynacraft finally settled on CA's BrightStor ARCserver Backup last November.

"We were using another [vendor's] solution prior to CA's BrightStor. But the support was lacking and its product functionalities could not cater to our growth requirements which is why we made the switch," said Cheng.

Case study: Dynacraft Industries

The company manufactures lead frames which can be found in a wide range of electronic items such as home computers, automotive components, telecommunications, toys and electronic games. With about 2,000 employees, Dynacraft has its head office and two manufacturing plants located in Penang, and sales offices in France, Thailand and Malaysia. Annual revenues was US$75 million for financial year 2005.

Business challenges

  • Unreliable data backup performance
  • Poor technical support
  • Unable to complete data backup daily
  • Slow data recovery time

Solution

CA's BrightStor ARCserver Backup

Key benefits:

  • Centralized storage management
  • Real-time monitoring and alerts
  • Ease of use and installation
  • Multiplatform support
  • Faster data recovery

Dynacraft was particularly impressed with the quick and easy installation process, Cheng said. Other notable product features include ease of use, seamless integration, centralized storage management, and faster data recovery time.

Among the benefits, Cheng said, CA's storage management capabilities enable a single administrator to manage backups across the entire enterprise from a single console.

More importantly, however, IT staff are now able to monitor the backup jobs in real time. Unlike the previous storage system, CA's BrightStor has a monitoring system that provides an alert status to a particular job. For example, staff will know if a backup job has been successful or not.

"This makes it easy for our administrators to check the status at any point in time," Cheng noted.

Mixed environment
CA's BrightStor ARCserve Backup supports a variety of platforms, and such multiplatform support is crucial to Dynacraft as it has diverse operating platforms ranging from Solaris, Unix, Windows and Linux, Cheng noted.

The company has four different platforms with various types of applications and databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. Integrating all these different platforms and applications together, and backing up the data into one centralized tape library, is now possible with CA's storage technology, said Cheng.

The new storage implementation couldn't come at a better time as Dynacraft is now in the most critical implementation phase of its new HRMS (human resource management system) and ERP (enterprise resource management) software, and it requires more frequent backups and faster restoration of data. This is to ensure that if any problems do occur, Dynacraft's critical business data are still fully protected and available, Cheng noted.

"With our previous solution, I don't think we had the ease of use and the speed of recovery," said Cheng. "It was a challenge for us to restore our data within 24 hours. And because we could not complete our backup operations on a daily basis, we lost a lot of data whenever [systems went down]."

CA's BrightStor ARCserver Backup has accelerated the company's backup processes, allowing users to complete larger backups within a shorter timeframe, Cheng said. Dynacraft's data backup size is about 1 terabyte. It takes less than half a day to complete its daily backup operations.

With a more reliable backup system in place, Cheng and his IT team have more time to concentrate on Dynacraft's day-to-day IT business needs as well as other key projects such as implementing the HRMS and ERP software.

Lessons of the day
Cheng believes before embarking on any major IT project, one should be well-prepared and ensure all the necessary resources in place.

"In projects where involvement of end users is critical, the respective departments must take into consideration their resources' commitment to the IT project," he added.

Cheng noted that a more comprehensive plan for resource availability, training and mental readiness should also be mapped out.

"This will help to reduce implementation hiccups and help create a less tensed environment for users. End users must realize that IT is not just a tool to replace manual tasks but part of a company's strategy to remain competitive. Once this is accepted, it will enable better cooperation between IT and the rest of the other departments," he added.

When deciding to implement a technology for the company, Cheng said one should take into consideration key factors such as ROI (returns on investment) and productivity improvement.

However, Cheng pointed out that it is not always easy to convince management. "Intangible benefits are obviously difficult to quantify," he said.

To make matters worse, Cheng noted that high failures in other organizations have also led to a negative perception of high investments for IT projects.

"Because IT benefits do not normally contribute directly to production or quality improvements, investing in machinery and tools for production efficiency and capacity improvement is still preferred, thus making justification for IT related projects difficult," explained Cheng.

But on a more positive note, Dynacraft’s senior management views IT a lot differently today, Cheng said.

"They realize that IT is no longer just about PCs but instead providing timely information to enable them to make faster and better decisions," he noted.