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Yusen: The last line of defense

“Back-up tapes are our ‘last line of defence’“

Wilfried Van der Elst manages the Local IT Support Team Belgium at Yusen Logistics. This IT expert has twenty-five years of experience in the field. Along with his co-workers, he safeguards the data stored in the Melsele datacentre against all threats. This is essential, because this datacentre stores the combined information of fourteen different Yusen branch offices located throughout Western Europe.

Wilfried Van der Elst - Yusen Logistics

Yusen Logistics provides logistics services for large and small businesses. By air, water and roadway, it moves products from one place to another. Sometimes these products have to be stored in a warehouse on a temporary basis. There, employees repackage the bulk cargoes into separate parcels and ship them on to their final destination.

Merak = ultimate guarantee

Wilfried Van der Elst: “All operations are managed from one centralised server that contains all of the data on our inventory, our warehouse locations, our orders, etc. If that server crashes, we’ll have 1000 employees standing around our warehouses twiddling their thumbs. To prevent this, Yusen Logistics puts its faith in - among others - Merak. Our off-line and off-site back-ups are the ultimate way for us to ensure the continuity of our business and to guarantee that our critical data is stored securely so that it can be restored to the original drives if needed.”

The added value of tape

“At the first sign of trouble, we will obviously fall back first of all on our online back-ups or other high-availability systems. However, most high-availability systems are based on disk mirroring or disk replication, and this precisely their weak point. If you accidently erase a file from one server, that file will also be erased from the back-up server. Is it gone for good? Not if you are in possession of a recent back-up: it’s there that you’ll find the file you’re looking for.” But what do you do if your production servers, your back-up servers and your online back-ups are rendered useless all at once - a typical example of what could happen if a fire broke out in your data centre? “Sure enough, we would have to resort to our old reliable tapes, assuming they are stored securely and off-site. And this is what we rely on Merak to do for us.”

Exchanged daily

“The Merak courier comes by every day to exchange our tapes, and he brings the tapes from two days ago back to us at the same time. It’s a question of experience: it’s often the case that when you need to restore a file, it’s not the most recent version of the file that you need, but the previous version. That’s why this special procedure is in place. And this doesn’t mean any more or less work for the courier: a data carrier is still a data carrier.”

Complete confidence

“We’ve known for a long time that the best place to store back-ups is off site. Up until six years ago, one of our employees was responsible for the tapes. What did he do with them? He put them in the boot of his car in the evening. This was not the ideal solution, of course, due to the extreme temperature fluctuations, not to mention the risk of theft. Because of this, we are now quite happy with the secure approach that Merak offers.”

Yusen Logistics - Tapes

Publicatiedatum: 06-2013

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