Case Studies Disaster Recovery Case Study – Yorkshire Coast Homes

Housing Association protect IT from Data loss & Disaster

Yorkshire Coast Homes is a Registered Social Landlord, providing almost 4,500 properties across the North Yorkshire coast. As a Registered Provider it is regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency. Yorkshire Coast Homes are a charitable organisation known as a housing association. In 2003 Scarborough Borough Council tenants decided to transfer from the local authority to this new, independent organisation. On transfer a full improvement programme was begun to bring the homes up to the Government’s Decent Homes standard.  Housing associations operate on a “not for profit” basis so any funds generated through rent go towards providing the services that Yorkshire Coast Homes offer and any surplus is ploughed back to improve the properties and communities  served.

The vision of Yorkshire Coast Homes is to provide ‘The key to a better life’.  Yorkshire Coast Homes have offices in Scarborough, Whitby and Eastfield, with communities centres in support across the borough. By 2020  they will have planned and started to deliver 1000 new homes, and will pro-actively work with other community organisations to ensure that they have a leading role in effective sustainable partnerships.

The Situation

Yorkshire Coast Home’s IT infrastructure has grown extensively over recent years. The organisation started from humble beginnings of a 3 physical server setup, to now running over 50 virtual servers in a resilient virtual cluster and the Yorkshire Coast Homes IT team now have to focus on uptime and service delivery to end users.  As the server farm grew, availability became an issue. Legacy backup tools were not delivering the necessary backup and recovery speeds now demanded by the business and disaster recovery methods were not efficient.  Slow backup prevented Yorkshire Coast Homes from backing up all servers within it’s available backup window and meant backups were still running when users were accessing systems well into the next day. Recovery wasn’t fully proven and disaster recovery test results didn’t deliver the 100% recovery requirement from the business.

The Solution

Practical Networks project team worked closely with the IT staff at Yorkshire Coast Homes to overhaul the backup and disaster recovery solutions within the organisation. As Yorkshire Coast Homes were predominantly virtual we recommended implementation of Veeam Backup & Replication to fully compliment the internal infrastructure. The decision was made to initially leverage Veeam’s replication technology to deliver full replication of all virtual machines both on site and offsite to dedicated standby VMware hosts. This meant that if something were to happen to the production server, the replicated virtual machine would be accessible from another VMware host within 15 minutes.  Once replication had been tried, tested and proven Yorkshire Coast Homes  decommissioned their legacy backup solution and implemented the backup technologies available within Veeam Backup & Replication.  In addition Veeam One was rolled out for more proactive management of the virtual infrastructure.

The Result

Today Yorkshire Coast Homes IT team  have benefited from Veeam’s continued and rapid evolution.  By maximising the advantages of virtualisation and the key features of VMware technology, Veeam optimises the backup and replication systems at Yorkshire Coast Homes datacentre.  Originally it was a struggle to even consider backing up every VM each evening but this is now possible as Veeam has cut the backup times down at Yorkshire Coast Homes by over 75 % and enables swift and reliable VM restoration in the event of an incident.  In addition, scheduled disaster recovery plans and methods are now fully tested with complete confirmed restoration of all virtual servers in the organisation achieved in a single morning.


“We’ve worked with Practical Networks for several years implementing recommendations around VMware products for virtualisation / backup & replication. Server and data management has been transformed at YCH through removal of physical servers, slower technologies and manual processes. With the introduction of Veeam Availability Suite and a VMWare platform we are now confident of recovering our Server infrastructure in a controlled manner should disaster occur.” – Damian Hurley – Yorkshire Coast Homes