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American Pacific Mortgage banks on cloud, Commvault backup

As American Pacific Mortgage grew into a large enterprise, its old backup system couldn't keep up with cloud demands. Scalable Commvault backup was the answer.

When Michele Buschman became vice president of information services at American Pacific Mortgage in 2014, she found a rapidly growing company with aging IT infrastructure. That made it a good candidate to push critical applications to the cloud.

"I walked into a company that, like most, hadn't invested a lot in their infrastructure. We had a lot of infrastructure that was aged, outdated and not scalable," Buschman said of the independent mortgage bank, based in Roseville, Calif.

With a 25-person IT team for a company of 2,500 employees, she made pushing American Pacific Mortgage's workloads to the cloud her top priority. She picked Microsoft Azure as the cloud of choice for critical apps. American Pacific Mortgage (APM) has SQL databases hosted on an Azure cloud and has adopted the Office 365 suite.

"My philosophy is that, if I've got four engineers who are constantly bandaging -- break, fix, keep the lights on -- it's actually more secure for me to be leveraging my larger vendors and having my data sit in places where they have larger budgets and larger teams," Buschman said. "That's one of the main reasons why I'm really pushing to move my last couple of workloads to Azure."

That also changed APM's backup strategy, and it adopted Commvault in early 2017 to improve restore times.

Michele Buschman, vice president of information services, American Pacific MortgageMichele Buschman

APM now has what Buschman called a "good cloud presence." She estimated about 80% of the company's business applications are SaaS-hosted, either in private clouds or through vendors using Amazon Web Services or Azure.

After looking at six different vendors, she chose Commvault backup, because it was well-regarded and highly rated in Gartner's Magic Quadrant. She also saw Commvault as a flexible platform to which she could add features as her IT needs grew.

"When I go to purchase, I look for platform solutions," Buschman said. "Because I have a small team, I need to have more centralized solutions that have different modules or pieces that I can add as budget permits and as needs arise."

APM's backup: Then, now and later

Before implementing Commvault, APM used a hybrid setup that took hours to perform restores. Downloading backups from the cloud took most of that time, and the files would often end up getting corrupted in the transfer. Buschman said the Commvault backup and recovery software made restores much faster, and her team is ready to run disaster recovery tests with the new infrastructure.

It allows us to scale without ripping and replacing. ... It's like having a heart transplant while the person is running a marathon.
Michele Buschmanvice president of information services, American Pacific Mortgage

"The management of it has been really smooth. My team is really excited to see how fast it's going to be to do our RTOs [recovery time objectives] and RPOs [recovery point objectives] now," Buschman said.

She said one of her biggest challenges of implementing Commvault backup had nothing to do with the product. Convincing her company to move to a scalable, enterprise-level product was a tough sell due to the price difference. However, it was better than overhauling the old system every three years to keep up with growth.

"I got them to buy into the heftier price tag to go to enterprise solutions. It allows us to scale without ripping and replacing," Buschman said. "I explained to them it's like having a heart transplant while the person is running a marathon."

Now, Commvault backup protects about 10 TB of APM's data. This includes personally identifiable information and national provider identifier. Buschman said she is looking at purchasing the recently repackaged Commvault Activate product so she can intelligently sort through that data and properly house it.

"I want to be able to identify that data, know what I have, what's of value to the organization ... and then be able to do a huge purge of data without feeling like we might be losing something we shouldn't," Buschman said.

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