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Indiana Wesleyan University Supports Growth With New Backup And Restore Systems

Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) may have started as a small, Christian liberal arts college, but in two decades, IWU's student body has grown from 1,000 to 15,400 and its staff has expanded to 200 professors and 2,600 faculty and personnel spread across three states. Needless to say, its data storage and backup needs have also grown. To keep up, the university updated the outdated and inefficient backup system that was no longer able to keep up with its backup requirements with a disk-based backup system that leverages deduplication and a new tape library system, all from Quantum.

"What we were running into is that in order to back up the amount of data that was demanded, our daily backup window had grown so much that we couldn't fit it all in a 24-hour period," says IWU's director of systems administration Everette Webber. "We had a single tape backup library with four backup heads in it. And we were running two media servers to service that tape library. We needed to do something that would help us deal with the growth."

IWU's backup needs had grown to about 2TB of data, produced from the university's Microsoft Exchange systems, financial and accounting records, and faculty data files. The addition several years ago of a document imaging system has added to the electronic data collection. More than a year ago, IWU began testing and implementing Quantum's DXi7500 paired with a Quantum Scalar i500 tape library for longer-term data retention. Since then, the university has been able to reduce backup data volume by 94 percent and reduce backup time while doubling the amount of data that could be backed up in this time.

When using the old system, IWU on average backed up about 2TB regularly, which as Webber said, took more than 24 hours each time. But now, thanks to deduplication, IWU is backing up about 6TB (without deduplication, it'd equal about 15TB) in about six to eight hours. Equally important, Webber and his team can locate and restore files much more quickly. "Ninety percent of the time, we're able to provide a several minute turnaround. Once in a while, we run into something that takes a little more work, but we are definitely seeing an advantage." The community that we are serving, our administration, are happy with the service we are able to give them.

Because backup and restores are less time-consuming, Webber and his team of four has been able to add new applications and build out the university's computing infrastructure. "Our virtual servers have expanded from around 20 to over 70 now, and we have about the same number of physical servers and we've been doing this with the same number of staff. We've been able to increase infrastructure and application support without increasing staff." Because Quantum's solutions have room for growth, Webber says the university plans to double its disc space in the near future. Despite a slowdown caused by the economy, IWU is still in growth mode. "We've noticed a slow-down, but we still have good growth. It is just that we were having phenomenal growth before. This type of technology will serve us well."