What to do When Taking Over a Data Protection Nightmare – One College’s Journey to Simplified Data Protection

Data protection is hard. The process has to, in someway, interact with almost every server, virtual machine, application, network interface and storage system. The problem is many data centers make the situation worse by buying multiple data protection software and hardware components. The worst case scenario is when IT management and personnel change, and the incoming team has to try to get a handle on an already complex situation.

Presidio, a premier provider of digital transformation solutions, was called in by a large college in Southern California to assist the college through this exact situation. The new IT team found the college had five different backup software solutions and used a variety of backup storage targets. The goal was to streamline data protection, integrate cloud into the data protection process, create a searchable archive strategy for long term retention and establish a realistic disaster recovery solution.

Presidio’s first step was to get a lay of the land by performing a data protection and disaster recovery assessment for the college. Presidio leveraged third party tools and tools available from Commvault to audit the IT environment. They also performed interviews with line of business personnel and other stakeholders.

The assessment found that the college had almost 57TBs of data spread across 63 million files. Not surprisingly, over 90% of the files have not been modified in three months or more. In fact, almost 60% had not been modified in two years or more, 30% not modified in five years. Clearly the college could benefit from an archive strategy in addition to a revised backup strategy.

With an accurate understanding of the challenge ahead, Presidio and the college could now take steps to map out a plan for ending its data protection nightmare. That plan included consolidating protection storage into a single hardware platform driven by a single software solution and making sure each campus location was properly protected. They also created policies for retention and the various protection levels and integrated those policies into cloud services.

Presidio suggested that the college consider Commvault software, Cisco UCS compute hardware, Isilon NL backup storage and Amazon Glacier for archive/long term data storage. The college did consider alternatives as part of its due diligence but found that those alternatives couldn’t get them to their goals of streamlined data protection and cloud integration. Commvault provided a single data protection solution that protects all of the college’s various applications and operating systems. The Isilon NL can store all the backup data plus act as an initial tier of archive. And Commvault can automatically feed data to Amazon Glacier for long term data retention and archive.

The Outcome

As a result of its engagement with Presidio, college, armed with Commvault Software has a data protection and data archiving solution that will carry it into the future. With a data protection and a data management foundation in place, the college is ready to set up a secondary site with cross replication and implement an eDiscovery solution. So confident is the college in its new solution, it is prepared to offer itself as a data protection service provider.

Eleven years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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