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California Relies on vmPRO Software to Backstop Emergency Services

As the primary agency charged with managing the state’s response to disasters, the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) knows it has to always be prepared. But massive amounts of data that had to be retained for long periods were straining the agency’s backup capabilities. The result: Cal EMA turned to vmPRO Software to reduce data volume, speed up backups, and achieve cost savings. 

Too Many Snapshots, Too Long Backup

Cal EMA has a variety of data it has to support and archive for decades, including information on physical assets across the state, reimbursement for damages, aid packages, critical infrastructure, and real-time data collected by satellite across California’s 58 counties. For example, the agency is still responsible for the data on remediation and recovery for the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles.

To increase management capabilities, the agency consolidates and manages this data on virtual machines. However, this virtual environment strategy led to backup difficulties. A full “snapshot” required about 15 to 20 terabytes of data to be backed up. In addition, a complete backup required multiple snapshots, resulting in a 20-hour backup window.

Cal EMA went looking for a solution that addressed these issues without requiring significant investment in additional systems. Cal EMA already relied on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM), a centralized, policy-based, enterprise-class data backup and recovery software product. To extend TSM to back up its VMware virtualization environment, Cal EMA found that it could rely on a virtual storage data protection solution from Quantum called vmPRO Software.

vmPRO is a Linux-based virtual appliance that scans across virtual machines to provide a native file system view of the virtualized environment. Using Quantum’s patented Progressive Optimization technology, vmPRO filters out inactive, unassigned, and deleted data from the virtual machines, significantly reducing the amount of backup data. This process accelerates backups and optimizes the use of disk, server, and network resources.

Benefits: Faster Backups, Reduced Volume

The use of vmPRO software has both enabled improvements in the core service provided by Cal EMA and reduced direct and indirect costs. The software has enabled a 75% reduction in the amount of virtualized data that Cal EMA backs up. As a result, total backup time has been reduced from 20 hours to less than five hours.

In addition, buying vmPRO software generated significant cost savings compared to alternative backup approaches. Among other things, it eliminated the purchase of a second backup system, of proxy storage for virtualization data staging, and of backup agents for each virtual machine.