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News Release

Bonhams Auction House Drops the Hammer on Downtime

Auctioneer adopts innovative open source project Hat to reduce costs and protect online auction bids
Released: 2nd October 2013
Publisher: Acronis

LONDON, UKOctober 2,2013Acronis®, a leading provider of data protection solutions, announced a collaboration with Quru,IBM and Red Hat to implement an open source system with disaster recovery capabilities on the IT infrastructure of Bonhams Auction House, one of the UK’s oldest and most successful auctioneers. 

Bonhams Auction House has been selling thousands of priceless antiques all over the world for more than 200 years, achieving record-breaking prices for Keats’ original manuscripts and recently selling the most expensive car in history, Fangio’s Mercedes for $29,650,095. With action houses in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, operating 24/7 is a key part of its success. However, to do this mission critical activity and ensure that it remains operational should a disaster occur, the organisation needed to update its IT systems within two of its US data centres.

However, as with so many other medium-sized enterprises, the cost of achieving minimal downtime through traditional IT models and data protection strategies was becoming unaffordable. Bonhams turned to its partner Quru, a UK-based IBM Partner, to help it resolve the issue by developing and delivering a cost-effective, open-source approach with a reliable data protection solution from Acronis for its backup.

“We migrated Bonhams over to open source software for the foundation of the upgrade and to standardise diverse platforms. This dramatically reduced licensing costs and enabled new disaster recover capabilities that would have been prohibitively expensive on proprietary systems,” said Roland Whitehead, CEO of Quru. “By moving to an open source system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation, with KVM technology, Bonhams was able to reduce the number of servers required by 75 percent from 35 to 8. The solution would have been 40 percent more expensive had Bonhams used a VMware-based approach, based on licensing costs and ongoing support.”

In order to maintain the integrity and availability of real-time transactional data the Auction House also needed to improve disaster recovery measures for the data centres based in New York and San Francisco. Acronis Backup & Recovery® was chosen to support these new systems and machines that Bonhams relies on daily.

“We have limited technical staff in the U.S., so we needed something that could be managed from another location,” said Simon Chiu, Bonhams’ senior systems engineer in San Francisco. “Using Acronis, we are able to take live snapshots of our virtual machines and back them up at either site and synchronise those backup files to each data centre. So, in the event of a catastrophic failure at either site, we can quickly restore the virtual machine from the most recent backup, and all services will be up and running within hours instead of days.”

“Without these open source solutions, Bonhams would never have been able to implement a disaster recovery system,” said Roland Whitehead, CEO of Quru. “The open source system has provided a cost effective and robust computing platform for Bonhams, at a price that the organisation – and many other companies – can afford.”

“We have built a platform that works seamlessly across Linux-based virtual environments and provides multiple targets – tape, disk and cloud. Our close development relationships with IBM and Red Hat have been pivotal in helping customers like Bonhams achieve such impressive efficiencies,” said Dmitri Joukovski, senior vice president, product management, Acronis.

Specs and details:

  • To add efficiency and stability to its operations, Bonhams consolidated 34 servers in its New York and San Francisco offices down to eight IBM System x3650 class servers. These servers are used as virtualisation hosts in a Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation version 3.1 cluster—enabling secure remote management of IT assets and full support for a worldwide disaster-recovery strategy. The servers run Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation Hypervisor, and the infrastructure is managed by just two Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation Managers running on dedicated IBM System x3550 servers, one in each location.
  • Bonham’s is able to perform seamless backups of its virtualised environment with the use of Acronis Backup & Recovery Virtual Edition to back up the IBM servers at each site and replicate the backup data to the other locations.

Read the full case study here: Bonhams Auction House Banishes Antique Servers.

Tweet This: Bonhams auction house protected and prepped for future of online auction bids with Acronis, IBM and Red Hat



Contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at:

For more information about IBM and KVM, visit:

For more information about Acronis virtualisation solutions visit:

For more information about IBM Business Partner Quru, visit:

For more information about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation, visit:


Founded in 1793, Bonhams is a privately owned British auction house and one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The Bonhams name is known worldwide throughout all sectors of the fine art, antiques and collectors markets, with several departments regarded as leaders within their specialist category. Based in London, Bonhams has salerooms in Paris, New York,San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Sydney, as well as a worldwide network of offices in 25 countries.


Acronis is a global provider of leading backup, disaster recovery, and secure file sharing and file access solutions. Founded in 2002 Acronis has established itself as a fast-growing international company with more than 700 employees in 18 countries and partners in almost every country in the world. Acronis provides complete, efficient and reliable backup solutions for desktop, server, virtual and cloud environments as well as leading file sharing and sync solutions for mobile devices.

Acronis knows backup. The proof is in the more than 50 advanced backup and recovery technologies developed to date. Over 4.5 million consumers, small and medium businesses and service providers use Acronis products to protect their critical data.

The company’s flagship product Acronis Backup & Recovery delivers sophisticated technology solutions packaged in an easy-to-use way that allows smaller companies to address their new enterprise-level requirements. Large enterprises also use Acronis products to address their point disaster recovery, migration and deployment needs.

For additional information, please visit or follow Acronis on Twitter:

Acronis® Backup & Recovery® are registered trademarks of Acronis International GmbH in the United States and other countries.

VMware®, vCloud® and VMware® vCloud Director® are registered trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and other countries.   


Quru enables organisations to utilise the most appropriate blend of open source and proprietary technologies to maximise the effectiveness of their IT infrastructure and be better prepared to meet today's business challenges. Quru is a market leader in the technical design, development, deployment and support of open source based solutions that help organisations to reduce costs and increase operational agility and capability.

Our focus is on developing and deploying inspired enterprise-class, award-winning solutions across key areas - business software product development, complex web applications and mobile apps - together with grid, messaging, and distributed filesystem and virtualisation technologies.


Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualisation technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT. Learn more at



RedHat®,the Red Hat “Shadow Man”logo, and all Red Hat-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registeredtrademarksofRedHat,Inc.intheU.S.andothercountries.

Linux®isaregisteredtrademarkofLinusTorvaldsintheUnitedStates,othercountries orboth.

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Published by: IT Analysis Communications Ltd.
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