Sunrise Express is a 35-year-old motor freight transportation firm with offices in Nebraska and Idaho. The company transports commodities locally and throughout the 48 states by its team of more than 200 employee drivers and owner-operators using nearly 200 trucks and 600 trailers. It specializes in carrying full loads unlike other firms in the business. It offers a full line of repair and preventive maintenance services for commercial vehicles and tire services for trucks, trailers, RVs, campers and passenger vehicles.
The IT department supports, installs and manages the day-to-day internal company tech infrastructure and networks in each location, especially the software applications that manage the business operations. These also include the electronic logging and routing computers for the trucks as well as the core trucking and maintenance software. “If it’s got a wire attached to it, it’s my responsibility,” explains IT Director David Sayers.
The IT Situation
David and his three-person IT team manage the main ERP truck management system that runs the business – Innovative by Trimble Systems. It is an AS/400 system that handles all major transportation functions from payroll to dispatching. Fleet maintenance and service functions, however, are handled by a separate system, TMT, which integrates with Innovative. Most of the software is cloud-based but some of the smaller applications are still locally server-based, David added.
Cloud-based data is backed-up by their cloud providers. Data backup for the file servers, cameras and one-off applications was handled by Backup Exec, a Veritas solution that was in place prior to David joining the company and one that he described as “very painful.” David elaborated on how much daily time he devoted to simply examining the reports to identify what did not backup and why and what still remained to back up. “The whole activity was very time-consuming,” he added.
The IT Challenge
Data was stored on tape. Tapes had to be brought home nightly, backed up, then returned in the morning. This data backup approach was outdated, clearly open to potential problems and generally required too much time to support, David explained. “I practically had a full-time, dedicated IT staff member managing this process,” he elaborated. “We clearly needed a better, more automated approach but the cost become a major factor in what we could afford.”
The IT team researched various options for replacing their outdated processes. They examined the Barracuda system but rejected it due to its complicated user interface. They also examined the Veeam solution but determined the price point was outside their budget.
David came across the Rubrik-as-a-Service solution offered by Assured Data Protection. “It was manageable budget-wise and turned this function into an affordable operational expense,” he said. It actually would become a less expensive approach for us over time compared to what we were doing before, he explained. They went live in early 2020. “Besides the attractive price point, it was very easy – the combination of those factors really sold me on Assured,” he added. Rubrik is easy enough for me to train any of my staff on how to do a recovery if one is necessary, he explains, whether they have been here one day or five years. If Sunrise was ever hit by ransomware, David likes the ease in which he could literally just “nuke all my servers” and go back to stand up the servers and be back in business “in less than five minutes.”
In addition to the simplicity, he gives the daily automatic reports very high marks. “In less than two minutes, I know the exact status of all my backups,” he says. The offsite backup is another positive attribute of the Assured approach. “If we have to do a restore, it’s fast and easy. “The labor savings is nice,” plus I save the cost of having to constantly buy tapes,” he adds.
“Besides the attractive price point, it was very easy – the combination of those factors really sold me on Assured,” – David Sayers, IT DirectorBack to Case Studies