A manufacturing company's story

Jacobs Corporation, a hammermill and pellet mill components manufacturer, has been on the IBM platform since the 1990s.

The company relied on physical backups to tape, and while they worked, Jacobs lacked master backups and needed a faster restore option. Plus, physically changing out and transporting tapes every night was inconvenient. As IT Manager Mark Fergason looked to the future, it was time to modernize Jacob’s backup strategy.

“A different company set up our new backups with IBM’s BRMS. The intention was to get us on the path to modernization, but the backups never worked as expected and we were having problems with some of them,” Fergason says.

Data center

That’s when Jacobs turned to ACS’ IBM iSeries team for an alternative solution. Fergason’s previous experience with ACS made him confident he’d receive quality service. ACS engineers successfully configured Jacobs’ backups with a Cybernetics device. With the elimination of the tapes, an additional offsite backup was necessary, so Jacobs transitioned to backups at the ACS data center in Kansas City.

That wasn’t the end – Fergason knew backing up was crucial, but testing was just as vital, so he scheduled a Disaster Recovery test to confirm that all necessary data would be recoverable. “We needed to make sure that in the case of a fire, tornado, or other incident, we could get back up and running in a reasonable timeframe,” said Fergason.

ACS performed two DR tests at the data center – unsuccessfully. 

After investigation, ACS engineers discovered that the company who had previously set up the backups had omitted items from the backup. After fixing the problem with the backup configurations, the total restore was complete in less than 24 hours, a timeframe that works for Jacobs.

“This is exactly why you do DR tests,” Fergason said. Should Jacobs have had to perform a complete restore from the previous backups, he estimates the impact would have been five to seven days of business lost, and partial revenue loss in the hundreds of thousands as a result of not taking or assessing orders.

This is exactly why you do DR tests.

“In the end, ACS came in and we really didn’t have to do anything for the backup, backup configuration, or restore. ACS took care of everything and made it work.”

Fergason’s best advice for any other manufacturing companies? “Work with an expert. Always verify that your backups are working properly and that you can get back to a working state.”