Mississippi College Selects NAKIVO to Protect their VMware Environment
Mississippi College, affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, is a private and co-educational Christian university of liberal arts and sciences serving over 5000 students from 39 states and 23 countries. Mississippi College offers 83 undergraduate areas of study, 16 graduate degrees, and several doctorates.
The IT infrastructure of Mississippi College consists of two main physical sites: their primary campus in Clinton, Mississippi and a law school in downtown Jackson. Presently, 85% of their IT environment is virtualized on VMware vSphere. Their VMware VMs host an abundance of systems including domain controllers, document management systems, file servers, print servers, Microsoft SQL servers, Oracle servers, and other specialized servers and applications. Without a solid data protection strategy, any type of incident could lead to data loss that can significantly affect the students, faculty, and staff at Mississippi College.
During recent years, Mississippi College has expanded and the amount of data that they manage has grown. The college’s goal was to invest in the fastest VM backup solution available on the market that they could ultimately afford on a limited budget. As the college requires their IT services to be available 24/7, their goal was to achieve fast backups that could be completed overnight.
“When I first began working at Mississippi College, we were backing up to tape. As we know, tapes have many shortcomings. Tapes require regular cleaning. If you don’t have the luxury of a robotic tape library, someone from staff must swap tapes in and out every day. There were also times when we experienced physical problems with tapes. Data verification on the tapes would take almost as much time as the original backup. Also, our tape backups were running constantly and we needed our backups to be completed overnight,” says Van Jones, Network Support Manager at Mississippi College. “We then switched to a disk-based backup system. This was an improvement, but we were still required to install an agent on each individual VM and keep those individual agents patched and updated. This was still a very time intensive process. Once we virtualized the majority of our servers, we wanted to deploy a backup solution that took advantage of our VMware environment,” adds Van.
“Last year, one of our resellers came on-site to assist us with our virtual desktop infrastructure. During a conversation over lunch, they mentioned that they experienced great success with NAKIVO Backup & Replication in the VMware environments that they support. They were actually excited about both the functionality and affordability of the product, so we decided to enter into a POC”, explains Van. After a month of testing, Mississippi College chose NAKIVO Backup & Replication to provide the college with VM backup, instant file recovery, and backup copy for their VMware environment. NAKIVO Backup & Replication is specifically designed for virtualization, is agentless, and can be installed on a Synology NAS. Since the product is agentless, deployment is easy and fast. “Since we already had a Synology NAS on campus, we decided to install the software directly on our NAS. The installation of the product was quick and easy, and integration with vCenter was seamless,” adds Van.
With NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on a Synology NAS, all VM data components are unified in a single system. This results in a 4-in-one backup hardware, backup software, backup storage, and data deduplication solution. “We really like the Synology NAS installation because we did not have to provision another server or set up any dedicated databases. The fact that everything is contained within a single device is amazing. We took advantage of the hardware that we already had and created a VM backup appliance by integrating NAKIVO Backup & Replication and our Synology NAS,” says Van.
As Mississippi College no longer needs to rely on agents or tapes, their VM backup performance has increased and the time required to manage their backup solution has decreased. With forever-incremental backup, the college can only back up the changed data to the backup repository, thus increasing the speed of VM backups. “On average, the forever-incremental backups finish in under 20 minutes. With Changed Block Tracking (CBT) technology, our backups are at least 2X faster (and up to 6X faster in some instances) in comparison to our previous disk-based solution. We eventually switched to a larger, more powerful Synology NAS and the VM backup performance is even better now,” reports Van.
“In addition to VM backups, we are doing backup copies once a week to a NAS at the law school. This means that we no longer are required to physically transfer tapes or archive drives between campuses. In the beginning, we were backing up everything, including the law school resources all the way to the main campus. Now we are backing up those few servers that live at the law school to their own Synology NAS, and we just do a backup copy to the main campus. With backup copy, we are ensuring that our data can be recovered in case of a disaster,” explains Van.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s instant file recovery is also useful for Mississippi College. “Recently, I had to recover some files that had accidentally been deleted by an end user. Previously with tape, recovering a file could take a significant amount of time. File recovery with NAKIVO Backup & Replication now only takes a couple of minutes. The process is super easy. I just navigate down the file tree on the server and download the needed file,” says Karen Hearn, Network Administrator at Mississippi College.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on a Synology NAS provides Mississippi College with forever-incremental backup, backup copy, and instant file recovery. With forever-incremental backup, the college can back up VMs faster and more frequently. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, they can also create and maintain backup copies of VMware backups. Lastly, with instant file recovery, an individual file can be recovered in several minutes. “NAKIVO Backup & Replication just works for us because the software is agentless and easy to setup. With the previous solution, I had to periodically update agents on each server, while now I no longer need to do that, thus I can spend my time doing other IT activities. Overall, NAKIVO Backup & Replication helped us achieve faster VM backups and protect those VM backups with backup copy,” says Karen.
About Mississippi College
Mississippi College, governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the Mississippi Baptist Convention, is a private, co-educational, comprehensive university of liberal arts and sciences, and professional studies, dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence. Founded in 1826, Mississippi College is the oldest institution of higher learning and the largest private university in the state of Mississippi. As a Christian institution, Mississippi College values the integration of faith and learning throughout the educational process. The university strives to recruit students who demonstrate excellence in scholarship, leadership, and church/community involvement. The majority of students come from Mississippi and other southeastern states. For more information, please visit www.mc.edu.