When I was in school, we were lucky to spend a couple of hours a week on a computer (I spent mine playing Oregon Trail). Back then, there simply weren’t enough computers for all of the students to use their own and few, if any, of my teachers had one in the classroom. But these days, it seems that schools often have IT infrastructures as complex as—and in some cases more complex than—businesses.
Schools function just like businesses in many ways. Teachers and administrators need to be connected and students need to learn to use computers effectively. Given similar IT needs, it’s just as critical that schools be able to backup and recover their data and schools and businesses alike are seeing the benefits of disk-based backup.
According to an article on Australian tech website Technology Decisions, the Anglican Church and Grammar School in Queensland, Australia decided to switch to a contemporary disk-based backup method after their tape-based solution failed too many times.
The school’s network admin Gavin Rees explained that the school previously relied on Backup Exec and tape backups for recovery but they kept having issues.
Rees explained that without doing updates every three months, Backup Exec would stop backing up and also had other reliability issues when data got bigger. In his words, “As backup times expanded out, we couldn’t actually back up in our small four or five hour backup window, so we were having to split backups up. It really became untenable at that stage.”
Given the issues, Rees was determined to find a new solution that was both reliable and cost effective. But while the school was exploring other options, one of their live production servers failed.
They first attempted to recover with the tape backups of the server. The process took twenty-two hours and after all that time, the backup failed. For a business, that could mean three full working days without a server—assuming the recovery doesn’t fail at the last minute. That’s an awful lot of downtime.
As luck would have it, the team had also taken a backup of the server using the demo version of StorageCraft ShadowProtect right before the failure.
When the team turned to the ShadowProtect images they’d taken, the server was up and running in a couple of hours. Given this successful real-life recovery, Rees quickly filled his IT arsenal with around thirty ShadowProtect licenses, which he uses on around fifty-two servers, both physical and virtual, on campus. “We basically back everything up just to disk,” he said.
Imagine if Rees and his team hadn’t had a ShadowProtect image. They would’ve wasted three days just to find that the backup failed and there was no way to recover. When you factor in how long it will take to recover using tape and the level of reliability inherent in the medium itself (not to mention declining costs of physical storage space), it no longer makes sense to go with tape backups.