NAKIVO on NAS Increases VM Backup Speed by 15X for a University
Asia-Pacific International University is a private university located in Thailand, which is committed to being an international, values-oriented educational community for the advancement of learning and knowledge, which develops and nurtures in its students, faculty, and staff. The institution achieved University status in 2009 and students from over 38 countries are represented on campus today.
The IT infrastructure at the Asia-Pacific International University is virtualized and runs on VMware. With over 1,000 students, not including faculty and staff, Asia-Pacific International University needs to protect its critical IT systems and data, and also provide IT services to all the stakeholders. Students need access to data and information, in order to accomplish their studies successfully, while staff and faculty require 24/7 access to Moodle’s open source learning platform, personal student information, university information, and financial data.
In addition, the university also needs to protect a proprietary information system, VMs running Windows servers and file servers. Quality assurance papers that are checked regularly by the government are stored in the file servers, so any kind of failure or data loss might impact the business severely and damage the university’s reputation. Downtime of a couple hours can be tolerated, but in order to avoid any downtime at all, a VM backup solution is required for fast backup and recovery.
"Before completely virtualizing our environment, we had physical servers and we were backing up those servers with a legacy server backup software. While that software was working fine at the beginning, the backup time was longer than we hoped it would be. When one server went down that was holding 100 GB of data, the recovery process took the whole night, from the evening till the morning time, and did not even finish successfully after all. We had no guarantee that we would be able to recover any of our servers in the future, unless I would have to stay up all night and monitor the progress of the recovery process, so we decided to invest in virtualization. When we finally virtualized our environment, we started our search for a VM backup solution that would be able to back up, replicate, and recover our VMware VMs quickly and reliably," says Edwardson A. Pedragosa Jr., Network Administrator at the Asia-Pacific International University.
With a specific budget in mind, due to being an educational institution, Asia-Pacific International University first trialed NAKIVO Backup & Replication for 30 days and after receiving the green light from the university’s Director of Information Technology, the software was purchased to protect the virtual environment. With straightforward installation, and an intuitive web interface, NAKIVO Backup & Replication did not require any extensive learning or multiple IT resources for software management. Since the university already had two Synology NAS DS3615XS servers at the premises, the additional benefit of creating a VM backup appliance by installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication on a Synology NAS was greatly appreciated.
By turning Synology NAS into a VM backup appliance, all VM data protection components are unified in one system, thus reducing the consumption of resources on the one hand, and providing ease of management on the other. "After installing the software on a Synology NAS, I have greatly reduced my personal time on backup administration. Due to the intuitive web interface, I schedule the jobs and just leave them and only check the notifications that I receive by email. With an all-in-one VM backup appliance, we managed to free up resources for other specific IT needs," says Edwardson.
With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, file servers are now backed up every six hours, while other critical servers are backed up every hour. Due to VMware Changed Block Tracking (CBT) technology, NAKIVO Backup & Replication identifies and transfers only changed data, thus increasing VM backup speed. "We are extremely pleased with the backup speed that NAKIVO and Synology offer because some backup jobs take only seconds to complete. If to compare to our previous legacy backup solution, the speed increased by at least 15X because previously, backup for the most time-consuming server would have taken 15 minutes to finish, while now only one minute, with CBT enabled," says Edwardson.
Previously, backup was occupying a significant amount of storage space and regular checkups were required to ensure enough space was available. By switching to NAKIVO Backup & Replication, the university does not have to worry anymore about saving VM storage space, due to global data deduplication, compression, and skip swap files. "Due to built-in data size reduction features, I no longer need to worry about checking if free space is available for backups. I was on vacation for 3 months and never had to check the storage space even once," says Edwardson.
VM replication is used for one of the most critical servers at the university, which is the student information server database. "By creating a copy of the source VM on a target ESXi host, we achieved the ability to fail over from the source VM to the VM replica. With VM replication, if for any reason, the main server would go down, I can automatically power on the VM replica. The VM replication speed is also fast, almost the same as the VM backup," says Edwardson.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on Synology NAS, provides Asia-Pacific International University with a 15X improvement in VM backup speed, in comparison to their previous legacy backup software. Due to skip swap files, global data deduplication, and compression, the university can now no longer worry about increasing VM storage space. In addition, with VM replication, the university can minimize the risk of data loss and downtime by creating an exact copy of a source VM and powering it on during a disaster.
"NAKIVO Backup & Replication is a cost-effective VM backup solution that provides great features at a reasonable price. The professional support managed to resolve all environmental issues and questions in a timely manner and even sent me regular software updates. When I was on a long-term vacation, our director decided to purchase additional licenses because he is happy with the overall performance. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, the university saved time, money, and gained peace of mind, while I now spend the majority of my time not on backup administration, but on other IT related tasks," says Edwardson.
About Asia-Pacific International University
Asia-Pacific International University is a private co-curricular tertiary education institution in Thailand. Asia-Pacific International University represents a union of three institutions: Southeast Asia Union College, Singapore (roots to 1905), Bangkok Sanitarium and Hospital School of Nursing (roots to 1941), and Mission College, Muak Lek Campus (established in 1988). Asia-Pacific International University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution, where strong moral principles and a close relationship with God are encouraged. The university celebrates the diversity of faiths and respects the differences of persuasion that may be present. The institution believes in a holistic approach to life that balances mind, body, and spirit in such a way that students are fully prepared to serve the world when they finish their studies. For more information, please visit www.apiu.edu.