A leader in the midstream gas processing and natural gas liquids (NGL) industry of North America, Aux Sable was established as a key part o f the Alliance Pipeline and Aux Sable liquids rich gas system. Operation commenced 14 years ago. Two companies were established: Aux Sable Liquid Products, Channahon, IL, and Aux Sable Canada, Calgary, Alberta to manage the natural gas liquids traveling on the Alliance Pipeline. In 2010, a second U.S. company, Aux Sable Midstream, was formed to focus on other midstream developments. Aux Sable has the exclusive rights to extract NGLs from Alliance Pipeline gas.
Strict discipline — with change control — was essential for test success. OnX was able to see clearly what worked and what needed immediate troubleshooting, providing the information to update the documentation live during the process.
Aux Sable pushes the boundaries of the most sophisticated energy extraction, processing and distribution, moving valuable gas products along pipelines that stimulate the North American economy. It’s big business and rapidly growing in the most literal sense. Supporting both office and industrial facilities, Aux Sable’s technology management knew it must appreciably harden a loosely organized, outdated backup/DR strategy. The personnel hours of a lean IT staff could not be disproportionately directed towards resiliency issues requiring evolving expertise; moving backup tapes from offsite storage to a Canadian central office was looking increasingly cumbersome and risky; and the vital importance of enterprise email necessitated outside help in establishing “hot site” recovery from the Database Availability Group (DAG) component of Exchange Server.
- Aux Sable needed to leverage the expertise of a trusted provider who would take accountability of important IT support issues, primarily a cutting-edge backup/DR solution, giving IT staff the freedom to focus on important operations deliverables and revenue-enhancing activities.
- It was important that Aux Sable partner with a provider having unparalleled business-process savvy so that planning, deploying, testing and assiduously documenting a holistic backup/DR solution, one that engaged management and users in the test recovery/restore process, would develop smoothly and get enterprise buy-in.
OnX examined Aux Sable’s multiple technology requirements through the lens of a custom backup/DR solution that could be scaled up and out as the enterprise evolved. Precision planning and modifiable run-book documentation were mandatory. Some key points of the full solution:
- OnX deployed CommVault Simpana with its automated power, flexibility, efficiency and security as the data backup engine for all standard Aux Sable front-end servers. Policy-driven backup mandates end-of-day data snapshots to an offsite OnX data/hosting center wherein a tenant-dedicated cloud/virtualized computing environment resides. Simpana’s console-directed functionality covers all endpoints and assures smooth backup-and-recovery operation, including granular file lookup.
- A mirrored replication of front-end production, Aux Sable’s systems backup is also deployed in a cloud/virtualized environment. It is routinely application-updated to stay current with operations, but is held in a “burstable,” ready-to-be-fully-activated state to enable overall cost savings without compromising DR performance. Full systems recovery/ restoration is assured.
- Critical to Aux Sable’s full DR solution was OnX’s detailed assessment, planning, testing and performance/restoration documentation. Highly successful Testing as-a-Service has included not only management but the end-users who gain confidence from working with recovered environments that mirror everyday application functionality. Moreover, documentation makes it easier to deal with auditors; a detailed plan and supportive documentation show that controls are in place and corroborate system viability for backup and recovery.
- The custom backup and restore solution implemented by OnX diminishes risk for Aux Sable by ensuring minimal downtime, preventing data loss, and giving them the ability to recover operations fully and quickly.
- With policy-driven backups to a virtualized cloud environment at an OnX data center, Aux Sable gained 24×7 access to their data and applications for recovery operations, including granular file lookup.
- By configuring a “hot-site” near-real-time replication of all email from their Exchange Server to ready-state systems at an OnX data center, Aux Sable meets their one hour or less requirement for RTO for email.