Microsoft SMB Blog

Featuring business and technology insights from Cindy Bates
12/06/12 Posted by Cindy Bates “With Windows Server 2012, my customers were prepared for Hurricane Sandy.”

When the winds and waves of Hurricane Sandy bore down ferociously on New York City, at least two Microsoft SMB customers were ready. Microsoft partner WorkITsafe had just helped these customers upgrade to the Windows Server 2012 operating system with the new built-in Hyper-V Replica feature. As a result, their IT systems experienced minimal interruption as the hurricane flooded the surrounding area and required employees to hunker down at home. In this post, WorkITsafe President Steve Rubin tells how Windows Server 2012 protected his customers’ businesses—and has the potential to protect many more.

By Steve Rubin, President, WorkITsafe

We are a Brooklyn-based IT services firm and Microsoft partner that provides a wide range of services to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, in a number of industries and ranging in size from 7 to more than 200 desktops. Our customers understand that IT is critical to their business, but they don’t want to worry about it.

It used to be that only large enterprises enjoyed the peace of mind provided by disaster recovery solutions, and SMBs had access to no such thing. But small businesses require the same level of business continuity support as large companies—they are either up and running or they are out of business. Conventional wisdom says that if your business is down for more than two days, you’re toast.

When Hurricane Sandy was hurtling toward the eastern seaboard, everyone was watching the maps closely, but many people did not think that it would really hit. Suddenly, on Sunday, October 28, the winds picked up and people became alarmed. My team at WorkITSafe started getting phone calls from customers worried about business continuity. On Monday morning people went to work as usual. But at 11:00 A.M. things went haywire. Evacuations were ordered, and things got very intense. But businesses still needed to operate, especially for our customers serving their own customers outside the eastern US, so people left their offices and worked from home.

Two of our customers, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. and CSU Industries, had upgraded to Windows Server 2012 and asked us to activate Hyper-V Replica as the storm approached. Hyper-V Replica is a new feature built into Windows Server 2012 that replicates, or copies, virtual machines from one location to another using a standard broadband connection. Setting up replication can take less than an hour and involves setting up the appropriate hardware at a replication site, copying customer workloads to the replication hardware in advance, and then having Hyper-V Replica copy changes to those workloads every five minutes. With this feature, businesses have their workloads running safely in another location, and the state of their replicated virtual machines is never more than five minutes old if their primary site is knocked out.

By Monday afternoon, the tides started flooding lower Manhattan. The offices of both Katsman Law and CSU lost all power to their buildings. They were advised that they probably wouldn’t be able to return to their offices for a week or more. However, thanks to Hyper-V Replica, the IT infrastructure for their businesses continued to run safely in our data center, and employees were able to log on and work from home.

Both customers told me they were thrilled with the results of Hyper-V Replica. During a time when many other businesses failed, they were able to proceed with business as usual, making a very positive impression on their customers.

I wanted to share the story of these two customers because I believe it’s critical that every small business understand the capabilities that are available to them today to protect their business in the face of a potential disaster. New York City alone has been hit by two hurricanes in the past year, and every single business in a 500-mile radius of Manhattan needs to be prepared.

You can do so by learning about solutions like Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V Replica. And you wouldn’t be the only one to do so. In just the first two days after Hurricane Sandy, I received four calls from businesses that wanted Hyper-V Replica. At least one silver lining of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy is the opportunity it provides people and businesses to be prepared for the worst.

For more information, visit the case study here: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=710000001721

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