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Texas Wesleyan Speeds Backup and Disaster Recovery

Texas Wesleyan University recently moved its backup and disaster recovery processes onto a new storage appliance and gained a reduction in recovery time service level agreements from days to hours. The 2,800-student institution previously used tape for backup but sought a new approach that was simpler to manage, more consistent and reliable, and bolstered off-site disaster recovery.

The Fort Worth-based school adopted managed backup and recovery services from Mainline Information Systems, which encompassed the use of Actifio 100T copy data storage systems. One appliance is located on campus, where it copies data from servers and storage; the same data is replicated to a second appliance located at Mainline's co-location data center 40 miles away. In the five-year agreement the service is paid for as a monthly subscription fee.

Should a failover be necessary, the Texas Wesleyan IT organization can turn on a virtualized server in its own data center to restore a service directly from the remote appliance, reducing recovery time from a possible five days to four hours.

"It was an easy choice. Once we found Actifio, we didn't renew the cost of our prior backup tool and we eliminated the high five figure annual tape cost of operations," said Kendra Ketchum, director of infrastructure services. "We are fortunate that our CIO gives us the freedom to try new products and to be innovative, something that can be difficult to find at larger state universities."

Now, IT reports backup success closer to 100 percent than the previous 70 percent standard. And recovery processes have improved to 100 percent from 90 percent.

Ketchum noted that the university is experiencing about a 90 percent reduction in data size due to the Mainline solution. "If it didn't deduplicate data and then rehydrate it on the other end, we'd have to pay up to 10 times the $500 monthly amount for a connection line."

The new backup set-up also came in handy during a transfer of Texas Wesleyan's law school business to Texas A&M University, which bought the law school in August 2013 after a 22-month sale process. According to a case study that referenced the transfer, the IT team came up with a plan to connect the other institution to its appliance over the network, allowing the Actifio unit to see Texas A&M's servers and storage as recovery destinations. Texas A&M could simply choose a restore process to move copies of the data and virtualized servers to its own data center, eliminating downtime and accelerating transfer of data.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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