The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) Solves VM Backup And Restore Problems

The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) is one of the United Kingdom’s leading providers of medical research, teaching, and patient care. Protecting the 200TB of data for more than 5,000 users and 400 VMs was taking too much time. “Our system had grown up piecemeal, and it had become a real management problem,” explains Stephen Lomas, IT Server and Infrastructure Manager.

Reducing Management Time a Key Objective

The UHSM IT team evaluated all its hardware and software options. “We looked at using more NAS, moving to deduplication, and using backup software options,” says Lomas. The goal was to keep the data safe, scale for future growth, and provide better backup and restore of VMs. Reducing management time was especially important, as was overall value.

“As a public sector organization, we are always trying to meet our feature requirements at a price that supports a very tight budget,” Lomas explains. “The Quantum solution gave us everything we needed at far and away the lowest price of any option that we looked at.”

Deduplication Provides Retention and DR Protection

The UHSM solution uses a DXi4700 deduplication appliance at each of the team’s data centers. Backups go to one appliance and are then replicated to the second unit for off-site protection. Each appliance can scale to over 135TB, so each can retain several petabytes of backup data at normal deduplication rates.

“Deduplication is just what we need,” Lomas says. “It really lets us get more data on our disk—much more than with our legacy backup systems—and that means we can meet our retention requirements and DR requirements without having to move any media off-site. So we can have all our backup on disk.”

The DXi systems store data from two different applications: physical servers are written to one share in the appliance by Backup Exec, while the virtual machines are written to another share by Quantum’s vmPRO software.

Simplified Reporting Reduces Management Time

The complexity problem was solved with the combination of DXi and Quantum’s backup management software, Vision.

“Vision gives us a single report to show everything. We used to have to plow through 30 to 40 reports to get a view of what was happening to the backup. Now I look at one or two reports and can see everything. It made it easy for us to find problems with a couple of VM backups recently because we could see at a glance that they were suddenly taking much longer to complete. We looked, discovered the issue, and fixed it quickly.

“The new DXi system is great. It does just what we want for backup—in fact, everything except make coffee.”