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San Antonio Spurs

The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs recently overhauled their backup infrastructure, deploying a disk-to-disk system to slash backup times from two days to just three hours. (See San Antonio Spurs Recruit StoneFly.)

Tod Caflisch, the Spurs' IT director, tells Byte and Switch that the seeds of the storage revamp were sown back in 2002, when the team moved into its new home, the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The organization, he says, took on a 25-year lease for the arena, which hosts a number of concerts each year, not to mention the Rampage hockey franchise and the Silver Stars womens' basketball team.

"Our volume of data exploded overnight," explains Caflisch, and the Spurs' previous system of backing up from disk to tape started to creak. "I can't say that it was starting to affect our business, but it was starting to make things harder," he says.

The franchise, which clinched the NBA title against the Detroit Pistons last year, needed a new backup system capable of handling its ticketing and payroll data, not to mention the arena's event management system and swipe-card database.

Previously, the Spurs used Veritas BackupExec software to send data from around 40 Dell 1650 servers to a Dell PowerVault tape library. Although Caflisch had no issues with BackupExec, he says the process proved too time-consuming when the Spurs began handling up to 3 Tbytes a day. "It was taking us a whole weekend to do a single full backup."

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