Alabama State Department of Education Overcomes Slow Server Restores after Switching to AppAssure Replay

After replacing old backup solution with AppAssure’s Replay, department improves server failure recovery time from 24 hours to two minutes.

Reston, VA, August 10, 2011 --( AppAssure Software, a leading developer of innovative backup and disaster recovery software products for mission-critical Windows application servers, today announced that Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), an state agency with 33 departments and 133 school systems, replaced their old backup solution with AppAssure’s Replay 4 backup and recovery software for its mission-critical Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL application servers to relieve slow backups and high tape costs, while improving server restore times from an entire day to just 2 minutes.

“We were using another backup solution and there were two primary issues—the tapes were expensive and recovery was just too slow,” says Scott Crews, Network Manager at the Alabama State Department of Education. “If you had to recover a file and you had the tape onsite, it might take two hours—on a good day.” ALSDE’s Backup Administrator Lloyd Nunnelee goes on to say, “That’s the best case scenario. That’s only if the user knew when the file was last saved and we still had the information onsite. But after two weeks when we had taken the tapes off-site, it was a shot in the dark. At that point, it’d take almost the rest of the day,” Nunnelee explains.

As Crews and Nunnelee state, while they gratefully never had a full server failure, they were spending more and more time dealing with unworkable backup scenarios and failures. “About once a week, we came in and found out that we didn’t get a good backup,” says Crews, “which is no small thing because we have apps like the child nutrition program running on SQL, which is huge for federal dollars—schools go online and order their meals, produce, and so forth.”

According to Nunnelee, the final catalyst came for them when they had to restore email with the backup solution they were using for one of the Assistant Superintendents, and they couldn’t get the data back. “We all looked at each other and said let’s move on,” recalls Crews. “I said to my team we’re all smart folks, let’s start researching a better backup and disaster recovery product and see what’s out there.”

Crews and his staff knew what kind of a solution they needed, he says – a solution that was advanced, quick, easy to use, and not out of the ALSDE’s limited budget range. Finally, they found AppAssure’s Replay which gave them the confidence that it was going to do what it actually said it would, explains Crews. “While I’m not from Missouri,” he says, “I love their motto – Show Me. That’s how I approached all the hype and promises of marketing. Does the darn thing work – really work? Replay is a product that works.”

The key features that Crews and Nunnelee say to rely on daily include Replay’s intuitive administrative console and the ability to rapidly restore lost data.

“It’s as easy as using Windows Explorer,” says Nunnelee, who has spent a good portion of his career wrangling difficult administrative interfaces with other backup products. “You just right-click, copy, and restore the data. The cataloguing is just so much better as well, and it’s so much easier to maneuver around in than other products I’ve worked with.”

“The time to recover a file or email is under two minutes, and the panic or fear of the user is taken away,” says Crews. “We have different servers set at various intervals for our snaps, from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on what type of recovery point objective we’ve set for the server. And the speed of recovery every time with Replay… well, let me just say, this is fast.”

ALSDE’s IT team says they can now turn their attention from worrying about backup and recovery, to focusing on creating a comprehensive disaster recovery process, using Replay to replicate data offsite. “Replay is not a product that you have to babysit; you don’t have to make sure it’s running. With our previous backup solution, we had to check and make sure it was running after a weekend, or see if it ran out of tape, or reboot the server. Replay has shown us that this is it – it does what it says it does.”

About the Alabama State Department of Education

Headquartered in Montgomery, AL, ALSDE is Alabama’s state education agency with over 33 departments, 133 school systems with 1300+ schools, and over 500 employees.

About AppAssure Replay 4

Replay 4 is the world’s fastest and easiest backup and disaster recovery software for Windows application servers, VMware and Hyper-V Virtual Servers. The only complete “all-in-one” backup and recovery solution, Replay 4 enables local recoveries from any type of failure in just minutes, with the added assurance of offsite application and image backup and bare metal recovery from a total site disaster.

For a free 14-day Replay 4 software trial, visit

About AppAssure Software

AppAssure Software is a leading provider of innovative backup and disaster recovery software for Windows application servers. AppAssure’s flagship product, Replay 4 is an application-aware, disk-based imaging solution that automatically and continuously snapshots entire Windows application servers delivering accelerated application backups and disaster recovery for in minutes. For more information about AppAssure Software, visit

AppAssure Software, Inc.
Steven Toole