Published on 15-Jul-2012
"ProtecTIER is a solution that can stay now and just grow as we need it to. We’re quite happy with where we are." - Peter Hadikin, senior systems analyst, British Columbia Institute of Technology
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Virtualization - Storage
BCIT is one of Canada’s leading post-secondary educational institutions with more than 48,000 students enrolled in fields of study ranging from accounting to technology management.
With storage demands growing across its five campuses in British Columbia at a rate of 40 percent annually, the school needed a scalable, high-performance deduplication solution that could seamlessly integrate into its existing storage infrastructure
With the assistance of IBM, BCIT deployed a 36TB IBM® System Storage® ProtecTIER® Deduplication solution to support the organization’s mission-critical application, database and testing environments. Backup and recovery activities are managed with IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager running on the IBM Power® platform. An IBM System Storage TS3310 Tape Library with four LTO® 4 tape drives is used to create offsite copies of all data.
The IBM solution shortens nightly storage administrative tasks from 14 hours to four, increases the number of generations of backups stored from seven to 30, and provides the scalability to support up to a petabyte of capacity.
Established in 1964, the British Columbia Institute of Technology is one
of British Columbia’s largest post-secondary educational institutions with
more than 48,000 students enrolled. From accounting to technology
management, BCIT offers a range of degrees, diplomas and certificates
in six schools of study at five main campuses and satellite locations across
a wide geographic swath of southwestern Canada, including the city
Senior Systems Analyst
British Columbia Institute of Technology
BCIT’s goal with the students is to provide them with the best education possible so they can become productive members of society and contribute the most they can and to have the skills available when they leave the campus.
If you we look at the data at BCIT, it's growing at a rapid rate. We have seen growth for the last several years in 30% to 40% range. It is a challenge dealing with that growth, both supporting the actual data but also providing an environment where we can ensure that the data is properly backed up and can be recovered as well.
We did embark upon a solution that provided us with a virtual tape and the ability to mount virtual tapes… it worked well to a degree but quickly we outgrew many aspects of that solution, including the capacity of the solution.
We were invited to attend an IBM ProtecTIER council held in Tucson. There were customers there that were much larger than us. So they had really good experiences to share with us that we were able to learn from prior to ever going through the implementation process ourselves.
One of the things that helped us make our decision to choose ProtecTIER as a solution is that it comes sized in various packages. You can buy ProtecTIER as an appliance; you can also buy it as a gateway. So for us, the gateway was really an appealing option.
We ran a product called Tivoli Storage Manager. It runs in our power hardware environment. The idea that ProtecTIER is an IBM product and Tivoli Storage Manager is an IBM product, we thought this can only be a good thing as far as integrating the two together.
If you look at a deduplication technology, what it adds to a regular VTL solution is a savings in the amount of disk you need to back your data up to. If you are seeing five or six times deduplication rates, it means you are needing five to six times less disk to back up your data to. So dedupe technology is vital to reducing cost and reducing their footprint.
Our ProtecTIER solution actually sits at a separate campus, at our downtown campus which is roughly 10 miles from the Burnaby campus.
Our restore speeds are in the 400 megabyte per second range and our data is located 10 miles away from us right now. So even with that latency of 10 miles, we are still able to provide high-speed restores and high-speed backups to that location.
I know the first time we ran restores from ProtecTIER, one of the people that was doing restore thought that something had gone wrong because the restore happened so quickly … And it was literally they entered the command, they turned around, looked back again, the restore was done.
With ProtecTIER as our solution now, the cost savings really come from the fact that we are not having to buy additional I think this should be appliances to meet our backup needs.
The scalability of our new solution is ‘massive’, might be the right word
We have got the ability to grow the environment much larger to a level that I don’t think I will see in my career at BCIT here. We probably will never reach that level of growth.
Really, what ProtecTIER has done for us is it's really opened our eyes up to what a VTL solution can do for you. It's the fact that it has those 256 virtual tape drives behind it. It's got the speed behind it, too, to do the restores in a very timely manner. It can handle all of our backup needs.
I think historically, BCIT has been known for producing excellent students that are sought after in industries throughout the province. I believe that what we have done by implementing a ProtecTIER solution is to ensure that in the future, that will continue.
Products and services used
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