Fire Sounds University’s Alarm for Data Backups
When a fire broke out at the main campus building at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, the school’s IT team charged in right behind firefighters to shut down servers and cover them with heavy tarps. All of the university’s data was saved, but the experience prompted the IT team to re-evaluate its data management and backup operations. Working with Symantec, Our Lady of the Lake University has reduced by half the amount of administrative time it spends on backups and increased backup speeds by up to 40 percent.
Even before the fire hit, Darrell Hoberer, the university’s network/system administrator, had a standing goal to back up every file on his servers every night, but with 1.5 terabytes of data growing at about 15 percent per year, that wasn’t becoming impossible. Data growth was coming from a heterogeneous mix of systems and applications, including a Cisco IP Phone system and an ImageNow document imaging system with a Microsoft SQL Server database. Hoberer also had ambitious plans to expand use of Microsoft Active Directory at the university, so he needed a backup solution that worked with that system.
So in July 2008, the university upgraded from Symantec Backup Exec 10 to Backup Exec 12 and purchased a 48-slot Sun® StorageTek™ SL48 Tape Library through Agilet Solutions of Houston.
Symantec Backup Exec 12 enables full nightly backups while reducing backup time by 30-40 percent thanks to Backup Exec agents for Exchange and SQL Server. IT used to spend about four hours per week administering the backup system, dealing with technical support issues, and negotiating licenses; today, in spite of data growth, it spends about two hours a week.
Looking ahead, by the end of 2010, the IT team plans to bring a new data center online, and the disaster recovery site— which currently serves as the temporary data center—will revert to its original task. The new data center will house half of the new SAN and most of the VMware servers, and will feature state of the art power, cooling, security, and fire suppression systems. Much will be new and different, but one aspect will remain constant: the University’s data will be protected by Backup Exec.