University Of San Diego Masters VM Backup & Restores With Quantum

Better Backup for VMs and Savings in excess of $1 Million

The University of San Diego IT staff was an early supporter of virtualization and today nearly 98% of its servers are VMs. When the staff saw that their legacy backup and disaster recovery system could no longer keep up, the team knew it had to look for a better solution.

Backups Taking Too Long

“We got to a point where we simply couldn’t get the backups done anymore,” says Mike Somerville, Manager of Network Infrastructure Systems & Services at USD, “and we started looking seriously for an alternative.”

The initial stage of the disk-to-disk backup was a layer of NAS filers which became much too expensive to maintain, and, explains Christopher Wessells, University Vice-Provost and CIO, “all the estimates for what we would have to pay in upcoming years were going through the roof.”

The final major problem was improving restore operations, especially for VMs. When data was restored from tape, it could take hours or even days, and restoring VMs was always slow, even when the data was on disk. “Every VM restore had to get un-packed by the backup app before we could do anything with it, and that took way too much time,” says Somerville.

Solution Research Leads to DXi and vmPRO

“We analyzed software-based solutions and various kinds of appliances, and the clear conclusion from a scalability standpoint, a performance standpoint, and from a cost reduction standpoint were the Quantum solutions,” explains Wessells.

Ultimately the solution that USD selected had two parts—a Quantum DXi deduplication appliance and its vmPRO backup software for virtual servers.

Backup Performance Issues Solved

The new system solved the backup window problem immediately. “Before, we couldn’t get our backups done in time, and now we’re back to backing up everything every week—and we have plenty of headroom to let us handle more data when it increases,” says Somerville. “I think we have gained two full days of available backup window.”

The deduplication rates have been impressive; today the current ratio is a full 22 to 1, so that 14TB of DXi space is all that’s needed to store 300TB of backup data.

Better Backup & Recovery for VMs

Quantum’s vmPRO is an agentless backup system that integrates with vCenter, using virtual appliances to create fast backup images of VMs in native format.

“The vmPRO solution has been absolutely amazing,” Somerville reports. “We installed it, and it really just worked out of the box. We were actually doing a test between our current backup software and this new system, when a restore request came in, so we used both. The vmPRO unit was immediately available. The other one was still churning two hours later.”

Lower Costs Friendly on Budget

“Not only is the DXi less expensive than buying enterprise disk, it's much less expensive than the competitive products that quite frankly aren't as good,” says Somerville.

“Primary enterprise storage costs us about $2,500 per terabyte, so our 22 to 1 dedupe ratio saves us $52,000 in direct costs,” Wessells explains. “We estimate a cost reduction in excess of one million dollars over a three year period.”