Novaloans eliminates backup issues through database migration

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Novaloans Ltd is a Yorkshire-based loans company which has been operating since 2011. As an independent direct lender, they provide responsible short-term loans with flexible repayment terms.

The Challenge

  • Novaloans had been experiencing issues with their backup to Acronis, including 3-4 major issues over the past few months. On occasions the backup failed, which caused system outages for Novaloans and numerous callouts in the early hours of the morning.
  • These issues highlighted an increased risk to the success of the disaster recovery (DR) for their key IT system and database, leading to the decision that it was not fit for purpose and a new solution was required.

The Solution

Novaloans have some internal skills in Azure and felt moving their DR to this cloud platform would be the best way forward, but wanted to be sure that this satisfied the key drivers for the project; cost savings, reduced risk and a more robust solution. They came to Xynomix to assess that this was the right option and for assistance with the migration implementation.

After assessing Novaloans’ IT environment and requirements, we recommended they migrate to SQL Server technology, utilising transaction log shipping in the migration process and sending backups to the Azure cloud.

Batch technology and log shipping was used during the DR migration process to maintain performance of the live on-premise solution until project completion.

Data was encrypted in transit for security on the unsecure network, whilst connectivity between the on-premise system and Azure Virtual Machine (VM) was maintained using Azure VPN Gateway, offering a very robust 99.9% uptime SLA.

Even when an internet connection is said to be reliable, from experience we have found that this isn’t always the case and data can be lost. This is a factor that is often overlooked when designing this kind of system. By using log shipping, if connection is lost the copy jobs in log shipping can retry when the network connection is regained, maintaining DR eventual consistency.

To keep costs down we also introduced Azure VM automation, which meant the solution could turn off and on at key times to reduce data upload and therefore costs.

Backups take place to an Azure Storage Account using native features within SQL Server. These backups take a bit longer over Azure VPN Gateway, but with compression enabled there is an adequate window for these to complete in the early hours.

The Outcome

Since the introduction of the new solution, Novaloans have had no backup issues or callouts, allowing more time to focus on innovation. After the success of moving their DR into the cloud, Novaloans are now considering migrating further parts of their estate to cloud as well.

The solution has also presented a £500-700 saving per month to the business via VM Automation alone.

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