NAKIVO Backup & Replication on NAS Increases VM Backup Performance by 2.5X for a Private School
GRACE Christian School (GRACE) is a private school located in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. GRACE comprises elementary, middle, and high school programs. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the school has 781 students enrolled. GRACE is a community that genuinely cares for each and every student in a personal manner. The school’s academic, fine arts, athletic, and social programs are designed to challenge and inspire students to develop their talents.
GRACE’s IT infrastructure consists of three locations across the campus. Their VMware VMs run Microsoft Active Directory servers, Windows servers, a computer management system, network monitoring servers, and other data as well as applications, including special software designed for schools to monitor staff and student activity. The IT infrastructure at GRACE relies heavily on authentication services being up and running properly, thus if a server goes down, students and teachers can lose access to vital information. Since the school does not want to lose connectivity, which could create roadblocks for teachers and students, a robust VM backup solution is required to protect the virtual environment at GRACE.
“Previously, we used a script solution to protect our VMware environment, but the system was clunky and cumbersome, as well as required extra man hours to get things working properly. The whole VM backup process was laborious and could take six to ten hours to accomplish. In addition, I would actually need to be physically present on campus, connected to the network, throughout the entire VM recovery process. That posed a huge risk to the organization because if something were to happen, and I was unavailable for whatever reason, the entire IT infrastructure would take a hit. Ultimately, we decided to look for a proper VM backup solution designed to protect VMware environments, and our main criteria were ease of use, price point, and integration with Synology NAS servers,” says Dana Morrison, Technology Director at GRACE.
While looking for a VM backup solution within the Synology Application Center, Dana noticed NAKIVO Backup & Replication, and after some research on NAKIVO, Dana’s interest was piqued. After a week of testing and evaluation, NAKIVO Backup & Replication was chosen to replace the school’s previous script-based solution. Installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication on a Synology NAS server is extraordinarily easy and intuitive; coupled with a clean web interface, it makes the software extremely user-friendly.
“What I like about Synology NAS as a VM backup appliance is that we are able to use the servers for different things, like storage of surveillance footage, for example, while at the same time using them to back up and recover VMware VMs with NAKIVO Backup & Replication. The fact that we did not need to buy a dedicated server to run VM backups is fantastic. We managed to not only save money, but also achieve flexibility and combine backup software and hardware in one single device,” says Dana.
With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, GRACE can back up and recover VMware VMs faster than with the previous solution. NAKIVO Backup & Replication provides a Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) retention scheme, which allows them to save storage space while keeping recovery points from any period. “We keep recovery points on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. What is great about the retention scheme is that the recovery time is extremely fast with any recovery point you chose to recover from. I tried to recover a core server with NAKIVO Backup & Replication and the whole process was phenomenally fast – only 20 minutes or so. I then found that with the other servers I tested, the recovery speed was always consistently quick,” says Dana.
“In terms of VM backup, if to compare to the previous script solution, we managed to improve performance by 2.5X at least. Backing up our biggest server (which holds 3TB of data) takes approximately 4 hours with NAKIVO Backup & Replication, whereas before, our script solution, would have taken something like 10 hours. Such an improvement is fantastic,” says Dana. Dana also takes advantage of the automatic reports and email notifications that NAKIVO Backup & Replication provides. NAKIVO Backup & Replication offers visibility into the health of virtual machines, thus the issues can be noticed and resolved before they can impact the organization. “Email notifications are great for alarming us of any inconsistencies within the backup or recovery jobs, and we really appreciate the automatic reports we receive after each backup job completion, as well as the digest at the end of the week,” says Dana.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on Synology NAS provides GRACE with fast VM backup and recovery, as well as reporting and monitoring capabilities. The school increased their VM backup performance to more than double the speeds they achieved with their previous script solution. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, the school can also recover critical servers within 20 minutes. “NAKIVO Backup & Replication helped me save two hours a week that I used to spend poring over scripts to make sure things were running properly. Now, I spend no more than 15 minutes a week with the product, so I have more time to spend on other important IT-related activities. Overall, NAKIVO Backup & Replication helped us gain visibility into our virtual environment with automation and reporting, while also helped us increase our VM backup and recovery performance,” says Dana.
About GRACE Christian School
GRACE Christian School is a private elementary, middle, and high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. GRACE is accredited by both the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and AdvancED (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), holding the highest rating with both of these organizations. The school is committed to preparing students academically for entrance into the excellent college or university of their choice upon high-school graduation. GRACE also strives to develop students that are mature, highly educated, life-long learners who will lead and impact the world. In other words, their mission is to equip students for life both in college and beyond. For more information, please visit www.gracechristian.net.