The University of Northern Iowa is the 300thcustomer to publicly share its selection of and success with ExaGrid’s disk backup with data deduplication solution. As a state-supported university of approximately 13,000 students, and ranked among the nation's top 650 undergraduate colleges and universities in the Forbes' 2011 annual ranking of top colleges, the university’s IT department understands the importance of maintaining records and data in a safe, secure and disaster resistant environment.
Prior to switching to ExaGrid, UNI had been backing up its data to a large, onsite magnetic tape library using a chargeback service model to the university system. The IT organisation backed up data files, Oracle RMAN backups and Microsoft SQL backups for its clients using Symantec NetBackup, with an average of three months’ retention and the ability to restore the last 30 daily backups. With a goal of offering advanced services and increasing efficiency, the IT department needed to replicate data off-site for increased data protection. A recent reduction in IT personnel led UNI to realise its previous shuttling of tape to offsite locations was not possible. The IT department also realised that data stored at both locations could be lost in a disaster due to their proximity to one another. The university needed to send data offsite more frequently and move away from tape to improve business continuity.
After getting pricing from another vendor and discounting them due to ‘sticker shock,’ the IT department chose ExaGrid’s disk backup solution with deduplication because of the scalability of its GRID-based architecture, fast restores and price.
· With the university’s typical annual data growth rate at between 40-50 percent, the ExaGrid system offers the advantage of scaling capacity as data grows, avoiding costly forklift upgrades.
· With ExaGrid, UNI has saved time and internal resources by no longer having to manually send tapes offsite. UNI’s implementation of ExaGrid’s systems has also shortened its backup window, as the university is no longer limited by the number of tape drives it had as to how many different servers it could back up at once. The ExaGrid system has allowed UNI to increase the distance between its off-site copies and primary data centers, while reducing the amount of effort that went into moving the data there. With ExaGrid, UNI’s IT team can run more backups simultaneously, allowing for increased efficiency due to shortened backup windows and faster restores.
· For UNI, another big advantage of choosing ExaGrid was that the university IT team could keep its existing NetBackup software for backing up files. Maintaining the existing software was a high priority due to its familiarity and ease of use. In addition, ExaGrid offered the capability of supporting backups using Oracle RMAN.