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Smartodds bets on Rubrik backup appliance with cloud archive

Sports analytics provider Smartodds has ditched Veritas Backup Exec and a tape infrastructure as part of an IT revamp that has seen it move to Rubrik backup appliances and a Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure.

The move to Rubrik has seen Smartodds slash backup management time by 90% and cut restores of the biggest databases from several hours to less than a minute by using Rubrik’s live mount functionality.

Smartodds runs about 300 virtual servers on Nutanix – to which it is currently migrating from VMware. Its core apps have been developed in-house and rely heavily on Microsoft SQL databases.

Key to Smartodds services are analytics based on past performance to inform customers’ betting, mainly in football.

Rubrik replaces a tape backup infrastructure with Backup Exec software. Both elements of the backup system had become cumbersome, said infrastructure systems engineer Charles Delroy.

“It worked… -ish,” he said. “If a backup operation failed – which happened two out of five times – we had to figure out where and re-do the job. Meanwhile, we had to manually deal with hundreds of tapes a year. If I went on holiday, I had to make sure things got done, etc.

“Tape was fast to write to, but was also not being used optimally, with full backups every week (databases) and monthly,” he added.

Smartodds looked at Veeam and Cohesity, among others, but the final shortlist of two was between Rubrik’s appliance-based approach and Dell EMC’s Avamar backup software.

“The two were like Windows 10 and Windows 95. In Avamar, something as simple as looking for a backup file soon became too complex,” said Delroy.

Rubrik also won out on price, however, said Delroy.

Smartodds deployed two Rubrik nodes with capacity for about 60TB in total, with all-HDD media.

Rubrik is one of a new breed of backup appliances that mirrors the rise of hyper-converged infrastructure by bundling backup software with compute, storage and cloud connectivity. Other suppliers hitting this market include Cohesity and traditional backup players such as CommVault.

At Smartodds, the backup scheme used is incremental forever.

User data rarely changes so takes only minutes, where previously it took hours.

Meanwhile, SQL databases are backed up in full nightly, which can take a couple of hours, according to Delroy, as can VM backup.

Delroy is currently writing a script with Rubrik collaboration to automate testing of databases after backup.

Key benefits for Smartodds of the move to Rubrik centre on ease of use and management.

“I can almost totally forget about backups now. I can login once a day just for a look, that’s all. It’s given me back my days,” said Delroy.

All data is now also staged off immediately to Amazon Web Services on the cloud provider’s Instant Archive service level in case of an unplanned outage that takes out Smartodds’ site. From here, it can present virtual machines via live mount in less than a minute.

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