Firth Rixson

Firth Rixson chooses NexStor to supply business continuity solution

Background

Firth Rixson is a leading provider of rings, forgings and metal products. Created in early 2003, by the merger of Firth Rixson plc and Forged Metals, the company subsequently acquired Turbine Ring Technologies in the UK and Schlosser Forge in the USA. Firth Rixson has also completed the construction of manufacturing facilities in Hungary and China.

Paul Armitage, the Group Systems Executive, was faced with a growing company and an expanding worldwide IT infrastructure that needed to be supported. He has been with the company for thirteen years and is responsible for all of the Firth Rixson Group‟s IT systems. His department supports over 1500 employees worldwide and manages amongst other things, their email and networks. He is also currently implementing business continuity for the US business. 

The Challenge

“In Sheffield we support in excess of 100 servers and the recovery time could potentially be several days following a major outage. We needed to reduce that to a few hours – this is critical in our business. We also need to provide near 24/7 support as the business is based in Europe, Hungary, China and the US.” said Paul Armitage. He has a long history of working with NexStor so started to discuss a solution with them.

The Solution

NexStor recommended a combination of Nexsan‟s SATABeast, Overland‟s SAS SAN arrays and InMage DR Scout replication software. “NexStor know our business and spend time to find the best and most cost effective solution for us. They look at alternatives more than any other supplier. They understand what we are trying to achieve and the relationship works well.” he said.

The new system provides business continuity across the Firth Rixson Group. All day to day backup is from disk although tape is still used to store data off site for life. “The SATABeast gives us reliability and cost benefits over SAS arrays. We didn‟t need especially fast disk storage but did need high capacity. Even when temporarily running four exchange servers it performed well. It is price competitive, I was worried that you might „get what you pay for‟ but it‟s very resilient – which is why we bought two more.” he declared. “The Overland ULTAMUS 1200s give us the flexibility of SAN storage which is tied to our goal of implementing a VMware based virtual environment.” 

The Benefits

“The InMage software has given us real time replication for all mission critical servers in a format that is relatively easy to implement. It‟s not overly complex; in fact we are running it here and installing it ourselves in the US.” Paul Armitage states “It gives us a Recovery Time Objective of three minutes and we can roll back any server in about one minute. It gives us point in time roll back and, in the case of major maintenance, we can fail over between Sheffield and our DR centre without impacting the users.”

Regarding the supply and implementation of the new system: “I put great store in working relationships. Troy and the team at NexStor are second to none compared with other storage vendors. They are proactive and go the extra mile. We trust them and that counts for a huge amount. It‟s not just about the hardware and software – it‟s the ongoing relationship that works” he concludes.

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