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Boston University Medical Campus Virtualizes Backup Systems

Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) has virtualized its backup and recovery systems so personnel can now manage backups of its heterogeneous IT infrastructure through a unified interface.

Academic researchers at BUMC purchase and implement new technology as needed when they start new research projects. The new hardware and software is chosen to suit the project, with little consideration of integration with other university systems, but all of the data from both old and current projects needs to be backed up so it isn't lost. Until now, BUMC's backup solution consisted of individual tape backups and a variety of servers and other storage solutions that were located in multiple labs and managed by different people.

"There's no way to predict what type of equipment a lab might purchase a week or a month from now, or what sorts of data will be generated and need to be stored and managed. However, we still need to support whatever equipment they choose," said John Meyers, assistant professor of medicine and director of technology at BU School of Medicine's Department of Medicine in a prepared statement.

To solve this problem, BUMC consolidated its diverse infrastructure into a central location with virtual servers assigned to individual labs. As part of this move, BUMC sought a new backup and recovery solution that would work with all of its systems, including the legacy ones, without taxing network bandwidth. "The traditional enterprise-class data backup and recovery solutions we considered were often really good at one thing, but weren't able to scale across our diverse and increasingly complex infrastructure," said Meyers.

BUMC chose the Actifio Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) platform. Actifio virtualizes data storage and management and requires little storage space and network bandwidth. It also enables BUMC to customize backups for different systems, so data that is updated infrequently can be scheduled to be backed up only occasionally, while critical data on current projects can have hourly snapshots and frequent backups. The new backup and recovery system supports BUMC's various standalone legacy servers, including Windows and Sun Solaris machines, as well as new virtual servers, and BUMC has eliminated its traditional backup software.

Boston University Medical Campus is home to the university's Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Dental Health, as well as the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. It serves over 3,000 full and part-time students and employs over 1,300 faculty members.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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