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Strategic Hotels & Resorts Reports Three-Month ROI with a savings of over $150,000 per Year with ExaGrid Disk-Based Backup

Background: Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is an industry-leading owner and asset manager of luxury business hotels and resorts in desirable North American and European locations. Asset management is its focus and core competency. Its portfolio is currently made up of 17 properties totaling over 8,000 rooms and includes properties managed by internationally-known hotel management companies such as Four Seasons, Fairmont, and Ritz-Carlton. Based in Chicago, IL, Strategic Hotels & Resorts is a real estate investment trust (REIT) and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BEE.

Challenges: Strategic Hotels & Resorts had been backing up and storing its data using two cloud providers at an annual cost in excess of $150,000 per year. Because cloud providers charge by volume of data stored, the costs continued to increase as the volume of its data grew. The company has extensive retention requirements – it essentially never gets rid of critical data – and as such could no longer cost-justify continued use of the cloud providers. In addition to the high cost of outsourcing, restoring data could only be done through a complicated and unfriendly user interface. The interface required granular detail in order to locate and restore data, and this was quite time consuming and frustrating for the IT staff. If a disaster occurred, the level of difficulty to obtain data in a timely manner would have made fast recovery nearly impossible for the lean IT department. Because of their increasing volume of customer data and difficulty accessing and restoring it – as well as the rising expense of storing it – Strategic Hotels began looking elsewhere for a better, more secure solution. The company hoped that bringing its backups in-house would not only provide a strong ROI but would also help offset the expense of its new disaster recovery site.

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Solution provided by ExaGrid Systems, Inc.: After comparing a number of different solutions, Strategic Hotels & Resorts deployed ExaGrid’s disk-based backup with deduplication system for a fraction of what it was spending annually for outsourced backup services. The company realized an ROI in just three months and will save over $150,000 in the first year of backing up its data to the ExaGrid system. In addition to the financial benefit, critical to the company’s decision was how the ExaGrid handles deduplication because this translates directly to the speed of backups. Strategic Hotels implemented the ExaGrid because the system deduplicates its data post-process (after the backup process is complete) versus in-line (while the backup is being performed), so its backups are done in as short a window as possible, freeing up bandwidth for its other network traffic. Strategic Hotels reports a deduplication ratio of 11:1, which maximizes its data storage capacity. Instead of having to use the cumbersome interface required with the prior cloud solution, the IT staff now accesses and restores data almost immediately using the ExaGrid. Also important to Strategic Hotels was its long-term plan for handling data growth, so the scalability that it found in the ExaGrid was of paramount importance. The company purchased only what it needed for their current requirements, which made good economic sense to them. It didn’t have to buy ahead and make an investment in storage that it doesn’t yet need. However, once the company nears storage capacity, instead of facing a costly “forklift upgrade” or having to totally replace its existing system, it will be able to leverage the initial investment and simply add onto what it already has by adding another ExaGrid appliance. Strategic Hotels is very pleased with ExaGrid’s customer support model of assigning an engineer to the account who knows the environment and proactively monitors the system on a regular basis. This approach provides a single point of contact for the company.

Summary: Strategic Hotels & Resorts has successfully brought its backups in-house using the ExaGrid and has realized a three-month ROI with a savings of over $150,000 per year. Using data deduplication, the company stores a maximum amount of data in a minimal amount of disk space. In addition, the company now has immediate access to business-critical data with a plan for future growth that makes solid economic sense.

ExaGrid Systems, Inc.
2000 West Park Drive
Westborough, MA 01581 U.S.A.

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