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Ashford Capital Management - Sound Investment


Ashford Capital Management employs a backup and disaster recovery solution from Dell to expedite system restoration, helping ensure fast, secure protection for client data.

Ashford Capital Management employs a backup and disaster recovery solution from Dell to expedite system restoration, helping ensure fast, secure protection for client data.

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  • 1. 62 2013 Issue 02 | perspective | Focus on softwareThe company’s analysts also needreliable 24x7 access to systems. “Becauseour employees often travel to do researchon portfolio companies, our workincreasingly spans multiple time zones,”says Ashford.Building client confidenceinto the systemFor many years, Ashford Capital tooksystem snapshots once a day and broughtbackup tapes to an off-site server forrestoration. Although this worked, thecompany knew it wasn’t enough. “Wehad several real-world tests, includinga hurricane in 2011 that resulted in uslosing power for five days,” says Ashford.“Even though we got through that eventunscathed, I realized that if a disasterever made our hardware unavailable,I wouldn’t be able to take the tape andrestore the system.”Even one day of downtime wasunacceptable because it would prevent thecompany from accessing its Microsoft®SQL Server®–based portfolio accountingsystem, which lists stock trades, clientfinancials and other critical information.“Not having access to this data would putour clients’ business data at risk, and itwould mean we couldn’t make trades forclients,” says Ashford.Ashford Capital Management provides investment advisory services to individualsand organizations in multiple countries, using innovative risk managementtools to help protect customers against market volatility and downside risk.As IT Director Tim Ashford says, “Ever since my father founded the company,we’ve communicated to our clients that they can trust us.” And that means having theright technology in place to maintain continuous system availability. “Giving our clientsconfidence that our systems are always up and running is critical to our reputation andbusiness success,” says Ashford.Ashford Capital Management employs a backup and disaster recovery solutionfrom Dell to expedite system restoration, helping ensure fast, secure protectionfor client data.Ashford Capital ManagementSound investmentReprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 2. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 2. | 2013 Issue 02 63When Ashford Capital investigatedalternative backup and recoverytechnologies, it was drawn to Dell™AppAssure™ software, which deliversfast backup, replication and recoverycapabilities. Ashford was impressed withthe product’s ability to access emails andother files during recovery, as well as itssnapshot scheduling capabilities.In addition to deploying AppAssure,Ashford Capital implemented a DellEqualLogic™ PS4100 storage array anda Dell SonicWALL™ Network SecurityAppliance (NSA) 2400 High Availabilityfirewall. The company rounded out itsnew setup by installing a Dell PowerVault™114T tape rack enclosure as well astwo Dell PowerEdge™ R710 servers,four PowerEdge 2950 servers and onePowerEdge R510 server.Ashford Capital can now recover itsmajor systems quickly, and the firm hasa solution that helps increase customerconfidence. “We can’t afford to lose ourclients’ confidence,” says Ashford. “WithDell AppAssure, we can assure our clientsthat our major systems are well protectedin the event of a disaster. We can betterprotect data and lessen risk, which meanswe’re also protecting our reputation.”After installing Dell AppAssure, AshfordCapital conducted a full disaster recoverytest for all major systems, including theportfolio accounting system. The firmwas able to recover all systems in onlyfour hours, rather than the days thathad been previously required. “Whenwe did the test, we had every majorsystem running again before lunchtime,which was unbelievable,” Ashford says.“System snapshots worked without anyproblems, and all workstations wereaccessible. Recovery took only a fewhours, and that’s well within our recoverytime objective.”Simplifying data protectionand recoveryThe company can now quickly andeasily restore its systems. “If someone’scomputer is compromised by a virusor system shutdown, all I need to dois browse an image I created of thatmachine a week earlier, and within anhour I have the system back to its originalstate,” says Ashford.Overall system recovery is also fasterthan before, because Dell AppAssureoffers a 3:1 compression ratio. This helpsspeed up the process of deduplication,a data compression method that helpseliminate duplicate copies of repeatingdata. “Dell AppAssure definitely provides fastperformance that delivers on its promise,”says Ashford.Using Dell backup and recoverytechnology also frees the company’s ITdepartment to focus on the business.Ashford says, “I don’t have to worryabout backup and recovery, becauseDell AppAssure just works. And so itleverages my time to prepare for anactual disaster. For example, becausethe recovery process is faster, I’d havemore time to work on connecting peopleto remote access. That’s really importantfor small businesses like ours, wherethe IT staff would face many demandsin a crisis.“Throughout our 25 years withDell, it’s the service that has set themapart, even more than the software andhardware. We’ve always had exceptionallygood sales and support people to workwith, and they’ve gone the extra mile toconnect us with the right products andservices. For such a large company, Dellreally creates strong relationships with asmaller business like ours, and that makesall the difference.”Hedging bets on heightened protectionTo make sure that its critical client information systems are well protected and accessible whenever needed,Ashford Capital Management implemented a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution thatincluded Dell AppAssure software, Dell SonicWALL firewalls and a Dell EqualLogic storage array.25 yearsAshford Capital has been a Dellcustomer for over 25 years,using many Dell technologiesduring that time.4 hoursDell AppAssure enabled thecompany to recover its majorsystems in four hours, well withinits recovery time objective.3:1To accelerate system recovery,Dell AppAssure offers acompression ratio of 3:1 for fastand efficient deduplication.Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 2. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.