I've Seen Fire & I've Seen Rain

How one MSP kept their client’s business operations alive through flood and fire.

Business continuity in a box. That’s what Managed Service Provider, XCEL Professional Services Ltd. in Calgary offers their customers.

In 2013, XCEL’s client, Storm Resources Ltd., an oil and gas exploration and development company, was severely disrupted by the Calgary flood that devastated much of the area. Many businesses were completely down for a week or more. For Storm, downtime can be devastating. “The inability to communicate and access information can be costly to our operation in terms of lost productivity and missed opportunities,” said Kathy Hanrahan, from the Human Resource team at Storm.

XCEL had to retrieve Storm’s servers from their 12th floor office and move them to an alternative location in order for the company to continue working on critical business transactions. Post-flood, Storm knew they had to find a better way to ensure business continuity. Spending thousands of dollars a month on highly available collocations or burdening users with sluggish performance by moving graphic–intensive applications and data to the cloud is anything but economical or efficient.

“Storm Resources felt the pain of not having a business continuity plan to allow their business to continue during such a disaster. We subsequently approached them with our Recovery 360 fully-managed backup and disaster recovery solution, using Datto and its cloud backup, local and cloud virtualization feature set to accommodate their needs,” said Ryan Barker, VP of Operations at XCEL. “They started their full protection on our new platform.”

For XCEL, the flood initiated an enormous increase in awareness of the importance of disaster recovery solutions for all businesses.

After extensive review of the many different vendors, XCEL decided to partner with Datto to provide this valuable service to their clients. XCEL immediately implemented a complete disaster recovery service for Storm Resources, based on Datto technology and backed by XCEL. This included a local backup-server appliance that allows for quick recovery should their systems be affected by a hardware failure or data corruption. The server appliance also manages the replication of data to the cloud where hosted servers are able to be turned on within minutes in the event of a disaster.

Fast forward to 2014, when a major fire left much of downtown Calgary without power or internet connectivity for nearly six days. Once again, Storm was in the thick of things, with their entire building without power. When XCEL was alerted of the outage, they quickly contacted Storm’s management team to recover the entire network environment in the Datto cloud.

“As a result of what we learned from 2013, and with XCEL’s expert guidance, Storm had moved email to the cloud and implemented cloud-based backup for our servers. This proved to be extremely valuable during the fire. We had timely communication with employees and building management and were able to maintain critical field operations. Our employees were able to continue to work and meet deadlines. It’s essential that we have plans and solutions in place that minimize or eliminate downtime. Because of our work with XCEL, we have confidence in our ability to remain productive through any future disasters,” said Hanrahan.

Because of our work with XCEL, we have confidence in our ability to remain productive through any future disasters.
Kathy Hanrahan

Through their business continuity solution and ability to prevent downtime, XCEL Professional Services was honored with the Bronze CDN Channel Elite award for Small Business Solution of the year for 2015. The submission was based on the Datto solution set, which they used to help Storm Resources.

Download this case study