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Columbia Sportswear Looks to a VMware-Based Hybrid Cloud for Disaster Recovery

Back in August, we featured Columbia Sportswear in our Another VMware Cloud series and discussed how Columbia’s VMware-based hybrid cloud solution was able to provide the company with significant disaster recovery solutions. In a recent article in InformationWeek, Michael Leeper, Columbia Sportswear’s Director of Global Technology, provides more details around the events that led to the company’s decision to move to a VMware-based hybrid cloud model, as well as the benefits they were able to achieve by doing so.

When the tsunami hit the Fukushima region of Japan in March of 2011, Columbia Sportswear’s Tokyo data center had to stop operating for days at a time due to frequent power outages. Columbia faced a two-tiered challenge: they not only had to find a site with a dependable power supply, but they also had to retrieve large amounts of data off tapes from the Tokyo data center.

However thanks to Leeper, Columbia’s data centers are 96% virtualized, so the company was already familiar with the process of moving virtual machines from one rack to another via live migration, aka vMotion. Based on this experience, Leeper had the idea of implementing a hybrid cloud style of operation that would involve using the cloud to virtually move servers hundreds of miles – thereby taking up the slack for the 3-4 weeks needed to get a company facility reliably operational again.

Leeper turned to vCloud Service Provider Tier 3, and found that by using the VMware vCloud Suite with vSphere, vCloud Director, and vCenter Site Recovery Manager, they could effectively utilize Tier 3 as a hosting service at which Columbia systems could be quickly initiated.

Columbia continues to use Tier 3 as they consider them “a great partner,” and according to Leeper, he knows that, “hybrid cloud will work for [Columbia], because Columbia’s staff has done enough experimentation at Tier 3 in moving recovery systems around to provide proof of concept.”

You can find more information on other companies that have successfully deployed public, private, or hybrid cloud models with VMware at the Another VMware Cloud microsite. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for future updates!