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University CDP's Laptop Legion

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) has shaved more than $200,000 off its hardware maintenance and help-desk costs by deploying continuous data protection (CDP) software to back up critical data from its 700 desktops and laptops.

The Fort Belvoir, Va.-based DAU trains Department of Defense personnel to negotiate their way through the minefield of vendor relations. But, ironically, the University's CDP overhaul was prompted by some underperforming kit of its own.

DAU network security engineer Dwight Simmons tells Byte and Switch that problems with a batch of laptops bought in 2003 and 2004 highlighted the need for a new backup strategy. Over half of the 85 laptops developed hard-drive problems, each costing up to $4,500 to fix and recover users' data, he explains.

"Our budget could not continue on like that," says Simmons, who would not reveal the identity of the laptop vendor. "That's why we looked at getting the CDP -- it was definitely cost effective."

The new laptops, apparently, were no respecters of rank. "The colonel who actually came up with the idea for the project lost his hard drive three times."

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