By instituting a new backup workflow to manage data growth and cut its reliance on disk storage, the college has opened the door for more strategic projects.
Addressing Backup and Restore Performance Challenges
Protecting its fast-growing student and administrative data is a primary mission of the Santa Barbara City College IT department. After implementing VMware to virtualize its server environment, the data protection challenge became more complex and expensive. The college used NetBackup to protect its physical servers, writing data to tape, but needed a different approach for VMs. Full weekly backups took more than two days to complete, and the system performance did not allow effective daily incremental backups, so some data was not getting protected each day. Restores were also a major bottleneck.
The IT team looked at a range of alternatives to solve the problems and still provide good VM protection within budget. The team needed a way to provide offsite protection and wanted assurance that its supplier had the experience to provide long-term support. The college selected a Quantum solution consisting of vmPRO data protection software and a pair of DXi deduplication appliances.
Reduces backup window by 90% - Restores in minutes
VMs are backed up by vmPRO software and written directly to a DXi appliance in the school's main data center. The physical servers are still backed up by NetBackup, but they are written directly to disk, to a second share in the same DXi. The backups are also replicated to a second DXi appliance located in a remote data center to provide a copy for offsite DR protection.
Weekly backups that once took up to three days to complete now finish in as little as four hours, a 90% reduction in the college's backup window. Previously, holding backup data on disk in the original system was too expensive. With the DXi's patented variable-length deduplication, a six-month retention cycle can be accomplished within the college's tight budget. Offsite protection is also handled with more efficient use of network bandwidth; each day the primary DXi replicates backup changes to the second unit.
Further, because vmPRO creates copies of VMs in their native format and reduces the size of VM images before they are backed up, file-level access is accelerated. As a result, the IT team can restore or boot VMs without a separate backup application, cutting virtual server and network use.
With backup and restore streamlined, the IT team can now focus on its next big project-desktop virtualization.
Brandon Lovelace, network administrator, Santa Barbara City College, said: "Weekly backups now all finish in four to six hours-so we've seen a 90% reduction in our backup window. And the vmPRO software tracks and snaps just the changed blocks within the VMs, letting us finally do daily incrementals for all of the VMs, which gives us better, more frequent protection. It's just a better approach-it's the way VMs should be backed up."
Robert Clark, SVP, product operations, Quantum, said: "By reinventing its backup workflow, Santa Barbara City College provides a striking example of how to solve the challenge of protecting virtual environments, leveraging Quantum technology to take a more strategic approach to data protection."