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Duplication Solution to Cut Backup Time in Half


  SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Quantum Corp. (NYSE: QTM - News), the leading global specialist in backup, recovery and archive, today announced that the University of St. Thomas has become the latest organization to realize significant benefits by utilizing Quantum''s DXi(TM) disk backup and replication appliance with data de-duplication technology. In the months since implementing the solution the University has reduced data center disk space required for backups by 90 percent, cut their previous backup window in half, re-directed their Quantum Scalar® tape library infrastructure for long-term archive and disaster recovery purposes, eliminated failed backup jobs, and significantly reduced administrative time and cost.

"I don''t get any more phone calls in the middle of the night telling me that our backups failed," said Laura Thomas, server administrator for University of St. Thomas. "I don''t think about backups anymore because the Quantum DXi3500 with its data de-duplication has eliminated these thoughts from my mind."

Data Growth Leads to Backup Challenges

Established in 1885, St. Thomas is an independent Catholic liberal arts university with its main campus in St. Paul, Minnesota. Over the last three decades the University has gone co-ed, added 46 graduate programs, quadrupled its enrollment and opened three branch campuses.

The University has 30 people in its IT department to provide services to its 15,000 full-time students and 2,000 staff. There is a mix of nearly 200 Windows and UNIX servers running more than sixty applications at the University''s two data centers, one at the St. Paul campus, and the other across the river at the downtown Minneapolis campus.

University of St. Thomas performs 20 TB full backups over the weekends, supplemented by daily 1 TB incremental backups. They had been using a Quantum Scalar? i2000 enterprise tape library in St. Paul and a small autoloader in Minneapolis. As the quantity of stored data continued to rise, St. Thomas started using a disk-to-disk-to-tape backup. This proved to be only a temporary solution.

"We were using raw SAN disk for disk-to-disk staging," said Thomas. "It had become increasingly slow as it got more fragmented, and it wouldn''t clean itself very well." Eventually it got to the point where backups started at 6 or 7 p.m. and would still be running at the start of the next business day. Even worse were the frequent failures.

"Every night, I''d log into the system from home to make sure I had enough tape and enough space cleared on the SAN so the backups would run," said Thomas. "It was a constant juggling act. We needed to do something to shorten our backup windows and make everything more reliable and more robust, so we began looking for solutions with more throughput and capacity."

This led the University to start looking at options for upgrading its backup systems. "Since we already had a Quantum tape library and we loved it, we were looking to replace it with a similar library," said Thomas.

Although Thomas began this project comparing tape libraries, she liked the disk and tape solution Quantum offered, which would help her increase performance and shorten her backup windows. "We were very happy with our previous experience with the Quantum libraries. They were super reliable and the support on them was awesome. The Quantum DXi appliance was really interesting the way it worked like a virtual tape library, and didn''t require special backup software or load agents anywhere. It just acts like a tape library, runs like a library, and works great that way."

Quantum DXi-Series Appliance Offers Peace of Mind

University of St. Thomas purchased a 1.2 TB Quantum DXi3500 disk backup and remote replication appliance with data de-duplication technology and a Quantum Scalar i2000 tape library with six LTO-3 drives for the St. Paul campus, and a Quantum Scalar i500 tape library with two LTO-3 drives for the Minneapolis campus.

Installation of the Quantum equipment was easy -- with all three systems going live in less than one day. "From the moment we started setting up the DXi3500 to when we streamed backups to it was under one hour," said Thomas. "I was shocked at how fast and easy it was."

The DXi appliance is connected to the same Fibre Channel fabric that connects all the tape libraries and servers. Disk backup is used for short term storage, typically two weeks or less, before it is streamed to tape and sent to offsite storage. Given the additional capacity of the DXi system provided by the data de-duplication feature, the university runs additional servers to it and then duplicates from the DXi3500 to tape. Since the daily incrementals run around 1 TB, and the DXi3500 has 1.2 TB capacity, the University of St. Thomas uses the built-in data de-duplication technology.

"Currently, we are seeing about 10:1 on our data de-duplication ratio, but I expect to see that improve as I get more data going to the DXi3500," said Thomas. She streams the data from a number of the slower performing servers to back up the DXi appliance over a single connection which has greatly reduced the time needed for the backup from 10 hours to just five. Equally important has been the reliability and ease of administration.

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