The Center for Information Technology (CIT) is the central IT department of the University of Groningen (RUG), which is responsible for the entire infrastructure. The CIT sees the trend of data size increasing. At the same time, the speed at which data must be secured is increasing. This prompted the CIT to look for a reliable and scalable solution. The help of BPSOLUTIONS, among others, is enlisted, resulting in the rapid roll-out of a new backup platform. That can handle four times as much data, with the same management effort.
Efficient data storage
Each IT platform within the CIT has its own characteristics when it comes to continuity and availability. If the CIT notices that the existing backup solution no longer meets the requirements for efficient storage and speed, it looks for an alternative. It is a search for a data storage that can secure several petabytes of backup. In addition, this alternative must ensure better performance.
Points of attention that the new solution must meet:
- Provide functionality that enables end users to be responsible for backing up and restoring data.
- Minimization of management effort, through a central and efficient design of the management environment.
- Ensuring continuity, by supporting data backup at two different locations.
“We wanted to be able to spar with an expert technical partner about the required large-scale design of the new platform. We are very satisfied with the level of technical expertise from BPSOLUTIONS.” – Wietse Albers, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Solution for multiple petabytes
The CIT backup project team conducts preliminary discussions with BPSOLUTIONS as an expert in software selection and technical implementation. Bossers & Cnossen is involved in the project as a hardware supplier. Together they come to a design, based on IBM Spectrum Protect software. “We were impressed by the level of knowledge and drive of the project team,” says Peter Strijbosch of BPSOLUTIONS.
The new platform offers a number of important possibilities:
- Scaling up to a backup environment that can handle multiple petabytes of data.
- Setting up an “incremental-forever” backup mechanism. Making a full backup is no longer necessary. This is important, because a full backup with an environment of this size can no longer be realized within acceptable lead times.
- Distinguish between the provision of technical facilities and functional responsibility for data backup and restore.
In addition, the design fulfills the requirements set for the new environment, such as:
- Support of various IT platforms.
- Flexibility in data management through policy-based data management.
- Backup data storage efficiency through de-duplication and compression.
- High availability due to fully automated data replication over two physically separated locations (the distance between them is two hundred kilometers).
- Simplicity in management via a central portal, in addition to the command-line interface.
- Data recovery and archiving in one software platform, with disk and tape media support.
A future-proof result
The result of the collaboration between the CIT team (including Wietze Albers, Kees Visser Robin Teeninga and Peter van Laarhoven), BPSOLUTIONS and Bossen & Cnossen, is initially a concept solution design. Then a very fast infrastructure solution is put in place. This infrastructure serves as the basis for the backup platform. The collaboration with the CIT team leads to a smooth rollout.
The University of Groningen now has a scalable solution, suitable for the storage of several petabytes of backup data. With this, the University of Groningen is able to absorb the growth in data, without extreme costs for software licenses. At the same time, the organization can add software functionalities to the new platform as needed. Data storage and data management have been set up as efficiently as possible to keep initial investments in hardware and software and the total cost of ownership manageable.
According to the backup team, the CIT now has a future-proof environment. “We have realized predictable backup and restore windows. The speed has improved a lot and that’s what we wanted. This also guarantees the continuity of data restores. Thanks to de-duplication, the amount of actually stored data has also been almost halved, ”says IT specialist Wietze Albers. “We can now handle a quadrupling of the data size, with the same management effort.”
About University of Groningen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
The University of Groningen has been in existence for over 400 years, making it the second oldest university in the Netherlands. More than 30,000 students study there and more than 6,000 employees work there. The Center for Information Technology (CIT), the central IT department, is responsible for the entire IT infrastructure, from 3D visualization to high-performance computing and virtualization platforms.
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