April 2008, Volume 9, Number 4
Member Spotlight: Del Mar College
Del Mar College Seeks End to Tape Backup Woes
Del Mar College (www.delmar.edu) operates 40 computer servers running on Windows 2000/2003, Linux, UNIX, and Mac operating systems at its Corpus Christi, Texas, campus. These devices support an estimated 300-400 different software applications used by 11,000 students and faculty for print and file serving, video streaming, web hosting, and many specialized tasks.
Like many community colleges, Del Mar College relied on a conventional tape cartridge library system for its archives, but experienced numerous challenges with tape backups including being cumbersome, unreliable, and expensive.
Tape backup cost the college and its employees a great deal in downtime, worry, and licensing. Tapes would sometimes get stuck. The backup software was very cumbersome, and it didn’t always work. It had persistent licensing issues, and when we started to grow, it just couldn’t keep up. Our 30-slot tape library had to be sent back to the manufacturer twice for repairs, and even with that, it still did not work well.
Seeking an end to the hassles and high maintenance costs of tape backup, we evaluated backup storage options and selected the Revinetix (www.revinetix.com) 3U rack mount Sentio 3400. This model provides up to 4TB of raw data capacity and client-side compression to increase capacity to up to 8TB.
We eradicated our tape system and implemented a total disk-based backup that eliminates the traditional weak link of data protection: slow, failure-prone tapes. Software is included so we are not incurring additional costs, and our backup window has dropped from 12-13 hours to almost nothing. A complete bare metal restore on a Linux box can be completed in less than 20 minutes. We’re now running on SATA drives, so we can grow our backup, dump everything to an archive disk, and buy other standard SATA drives as needed.
Central to the decision to purchase the Revinetix appliance was the product’s attractive site licensing, ease of use, and support for multiple operating systems, including Linux. The Sentio is now used as back up not only for servers, but also for critical workstations used by administrative employees, the college president, and the college vice president.
The Sentio 3400 features hot swappable serial ATA (SATA) drive technology and supports scheduled automated backups to the desktop level for every machine connected to a network. The appliance includes high-performance dual processors, RAID 5 redundancy, Gigabit and Fast Ethernet controllers, and dual redundant load-sharing power supplies, together with all the necessary client software required that is required. Disk backup does everything we need it to do and more.
Vince Villarreal is Network Support Specialist
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