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SOILBUILD GROUP HOLDINGS LTD

Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd (Soilbuild) is a leading integrated property group with a successful track record of constructing, developing and managing an award-winning portfolio of residential and business space properties.

Soilbuild manages close to 4 million square feet of business space for lease, catering to the diverse space requirements of industrialists and businesses. The Group has developed a range of residential properties from high-end luxury condominiums to townhouses and conservation terraces.

By harnessing its construction capabilities and extensive network of specialized contractors, Soilbuild has also expanded its construction arm under Soilbuild Construction Group Ltd to provide design and build solution services, turnkey projects as well as project management consultancy for both private and public entities. Since 2013, Soilbuild Construction has been listed on the Singapore Exchange. This gives the Group greater visibility and a funding platform to expand its construction capabilities and reach overseas market.

Over the years, Soilbuild has also built up capabilities in its specialist Lease Management, Asset Management and Fund Management teams, culminating in the listing of Soilbuild Business Space REIT in the Singapore Exchange in August 2013.

Today, Soilbuild offers an integrated real estate platform providing a full spectrum of real estate solutions to both private and public companies.

 

The Challenge

Due to technology limitations at the time of their last technology refresh, their current backup plan involved backing up their business data to tape, which were then physically transported to a secondary location for storage.

“This strategy for backup came with challenges and risks that we were determined to overcome” said Mr Tan Chee Yong, Assistant Manager of Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd.

Leading the project, Mr Tan set his mind to overcome the following challenges and risks:


Lack of a Disaster Recovery Infrastructure with Short Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
In the event of a disaster at their primary location, it would take many days for them to procure and deploy new servers to run their business applications again. Precious time and business would have been lost in the process.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) was 24 Hours
Due to the slow writing speed and huge computing resources required of their tape backup system, backup could only be done once every 24 hours. In the event of a disaster, Soilbuild could lose up to 24 hours of data.

The tape backup system was labour intensive and expensive
Backup was done manually at their primary location to tapes and physically transferred to a secondary location for storage. This expended valuable man hours, space and transportation costs.

There was no assurance that the backup data on tapes was actually recoverable
Wear and tear during tape operation might physically damage the tapes and cause data loss. There was also no easy way to validate the quality of the backup data frequently.

 

The Process

After a rigorous selection process, Adventus Singapore was selected by to revamp the backup and disaster recovery solution at Soilbuild. Working closely with the client, the team from Adventus Singapore took the following approach:

Step1: Conducted a thorough assessment of the existing backup environment, including backup servers, storage and networking components. Backup requirements and priorities were also gathered, understood and documented. 

Step 2: Performed a gap analysis to determine the differences between the current infrastructure capabilities and expected requirements. Through this analysis, balancing costs and business priorities, the teams arrived at a consensus to achieve a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) at 60 minutes and 30 minutes respectively.  

Step 3: Formulated a backup and disaster recovery strategy, solution and data retention policy

Step 4:  Solution implementation.  

Step 5: Conducted multiple tests to ensure that the operational procedures and backup system were properly implemented. 

 

The Solutions

  • Upgraded Storage and Servers
    Storage volume and Logical Unit Number (LUN) were redesigned to factor the growth in data capacity. Existing servers, storage memories and hard disks were upgraded to accommodate the future growth and expansion of Soilbuild’s storage requirement.
     
  • Set up a Standby Virtual Host for Automatic Failover
    The virtual host for automatic failover was configured in the event of single host failure. The hardware configuration was validated to make sure that it met the requirements for building a failover cluster. The frequent backup was configured to be as low as every 15 minutes for critical business data.
     
  • Replication Of Backup Images In Real Time  
    The backup & replication was set up to copy the whole image of Virtual Machine (VM) and a replicated virtual machine (VM) was registered on the target host. In the state of recovery, Soilbuild can recover their VM to the necessary state. Multiple virtual hosts with enterprise storage were configured in order to allow real time offsite replication.
     
  • Set up Disaster Recovery Infrastructure at a Secondary Site
    Disaster Recovery Infrastructure was set up at a secondary site. It included the provision of new internet connections, firewall, switches, routers, servers and storage.

Outcomes 

  • Disaster Recovery Infrastructure at a Secondary Location with a RTO of 30 Minutes
    The team can also virtually boot up any production servers from the secondary site within 30 minutes. In the event of a disaster at their primary location, Soilbuild is safe in the knowledge that they will be able to recover within 30 minutes from a secondary location.

  • Reduced RPO to 60 Minutes from 24 Hours
    Performing real time replication on back up data from production servers located in the primary site to their secondary is now possible. The new design and solutions enable the backup of the servers at 60 Minutes intervals instead of 24 hours. This means that Soilbuild is now exposed to a maximum of 60 minutes of data loss in the event of a failure – a vast improvement.  

  • Cost Savings
    With a disk to disk backup system replicating to a secondary site over the internet, Soilbuild achieved immense cost savings on valuable manpower resources, space and transportation costs.

  • Strengthened Business Continuity Plan
    Having a sound data backup and disaster recovery solutions, strategies and policies in place have strengthened Soilbuild’s business continuity plan (BCP). It has enabled them to satisfy the audit carried out by Organisation Resilience Management (ORM Pte Ltd) and obtained a Certification in IT Business Continuity Management (CITBCM).

We were impressed by the proficiency and efficiency of the Adventus Team. The Disaster Recovery solution was implemented smoothly and expeditiously. The team was also very thorough as well with multiple tests done to ensure that the solution worked as it should and reliably
says Mr Tan Chee Yong, Assistant Manager of Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd

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