Expro minimises business risk

Increasing backup success rates to over 97 percent

Published on 21-Mar-2013

"With Tectrade Helix Protect, we now spend less than 20 minutes a day on backups – an improvement of more than 90 per cent." - Sandra Fairweather, Head of Infrastructure, Expro


Chemicals & Petroleum

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Enabling Business Flexibility

IBM Business Partner:


Expro International Group Ltd (Expro) specialises in well-flow management, providing a complete package of services and products to assist its customers across the lifecycle of a well from exploration through to development and production.

Business need:
With low backup success rates, Expro’s IT team had to spend several hours a day on backup management. The IT team needed to find a solution that would enable them to focus on higher-value work.

Expro deployed Tectrade Helix Protect, a “backup-as-a-service” solution built on IBM technologies. Helix Protect combines the performance of an on-premise solution with the flexibility of a fully managed service.

Increases the backup success rate to more than 97 percent. Reduces the amount of time spent on backup management by about 90 percent. Reduces the need for future investments in backup infrastructure.

Case Study

Expro International Group Ltd (Expro) specialises in well-flow management, providing a complete package of services and products to assist its customers across the lifecycle of a well from exploration through to development and production.

Founded in 1973, the company has operations in more than 50 countries globally and employs more than 5,000 people. The company is headquartered in Reading, England.

Expro used to manage its backups in-house, and it had experimented with solutions from a variety of vendors. However, the company constantly struggled with a low backup success rate. Each time a backup failed, the IT team had to identify the cause of the failure and run the backup again. This process was very time-consuming.

Sandra Fairweather, Expro’s Head of Infrastructure, explains: “IT staff spent up to four hours each day ensuring that all backups had been run successfully. As a result less time was spent on more productive and pro-active activities.”

Expro wanted to find a way to reduce the amount of time the IT team was spending on backup management without compromising on data protection. The company engaged Tectrade, an IBM Business Partner®, to conduct an assessment of the current backup environment at Expro, and Tectrade used its findings to recommend a suitable backup solution.

Martin Ogden, CIO at Expro, says: “When Tectrade came up with a proposal, we knew it would meet our needs because it was based on our data, on which Tectrade performed a full analysis, rather than assumptions and estimations.”

Out-tasking backups

Expro adopted Tectrade Helix Protect, a backup-as-a-service offering built on private cloud technology. With Helix Protect, the Tectrade team is able to manage backups remotely across Expro’s entire IT environment via an on-premise appliance built on IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager and IBM System x® 3650 class servers.

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager provides centralised, automated data protection, with industry-leading features such as incremental backups, data compression and deduplication. Backup data is first saved to internal disk storage on the servers, then transferred to IBM System Storage® tape libraries for cost-effective, reliable data retention.

Sandra Fairweather says: “Since the IBM hardware is included in the Tectrade Helix Protect solution, we do not need to invest in IT infrastructure for backups. Tectrade maintains the whole backup infrastructure, so we save time on system administration.”

Expro has now been using Tectrade Helix Protect for 18 months. It has deployed the solution at three locations in the UK and one in the USA. Expro pays a monthly per-gigabyte fee for backups, enabling it to scale up its backup landscape as required, while keeping costs under control.

Martin Ogden comments: “As the company grows and our data storage requirements increase, we will avoid costly investments in additional IT infrastructure for backups, and instead just pay a slightly higher monthly fee.”

Unlike most other backup-as-a-service offerings, Tectrade Helix Protect uses on-premise hardware, which maximises backup performance. From Expro’s perspective, this was a key advantage over purely cloud-based backup services: transferring large amounts of backup data into the cloud over an Internet connection would require considerable bandwidth and much longer backup windows. With Helix Protect, the backup window can be limited to a few hours overnight, which helps to maintain productivity by ensuring that all systems are available for employees during working hours.

In the past, Expro used to apply backup policies to groups of servers, because its IT team did not have enough time to manage more complex backups at the level of individual servers. With Helix Protect, Expro can define appropriate recovery time objectives (RTO), recovery point objectives (RPO), and data retention requirements for each individual server, creating a “backup catalogue” that ensures appropriate levels of protection for data on all its systems. Tectrade uses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager software to manage the backup catalogue and meet Expro’s requirements.

Improving data protection

With Tectrade Helix Protect, Expro has increased its backup success rate and minimised business risk. With less need to worry about whether its business-critical data is properly protected, Expro can focus on its core business: providing its customers with high-quality oil and gas well management services.

Sandra Fairweather comments: “Backups can be complicated processes, particularly for large applications and databases, but Tectrade Helix Protect has increased our backup success rate to over 97 percent.”

Saving time on backups

Even if backups do fail, the Tectrade team is monitoring performance and can identify and rectify the problem quickly – often before Expro even realises that there is an issue. This means that Expro’s IT personnel can focus on more productive activities.

Sandra Fairweather says: “With Tectrade Helix Protect, we now spend less than 20 minutes a day on backups – an improvement of more than 90 per cent. Restoring data is also less complex because it is provided as part of the service rather than using my own team’s resources.”

Martin Ogden concludes: “We no longer need to worry about backups because we can rely on Tectrade’s expert services.”

About Tectrade

Tectrade, an IBM Premier Business Partner, provides its customers with trusted advice, managed services and reliable technology solutions for their IT infrastructures. In particular, the company specialises in providing backup and recovery solutions based on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager software. Tectrade currently manages more than 7,450 backup clients for 120 customers worldwide, protecting 15.5 petabytes of data.

For more information

To learn more about IBM Tivoli solutions, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/tivoli

To learn more about products, services and solutions from Tectrade, please visit www.tectrade.com

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Storage, Storage: TS3310 Tape Library, System x, System x: System x3650 M3

Tivoli Storage Manager

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM United Kingdom Limited, PO Box 41, North Harbour, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 3AU. Produced in the United Kingdom. March 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Business Partner, System Storage, System x and Tivoli are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Helix Protect is a product of Tectrade. IBM and Tectrade are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Tectrade makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.