NAKIVO on Synology NAS Shortens VM Backup Window by 6X for a California School District

Compton Unified School District logo

Company Site: www.cusdsuccess.org

The Compton Unified School District (CUSD), is using NAKIVO VM Backup Appliance based on a Synology NAS to back up and replicate Hyper-V VMs, as well as near-instantly recover files.

Business Challenge

The Compton Unified School District (CUSD) is an educational organization located in the south-central region of Los Angeles County, California. The district encompasses the city of Compton, parts of the cities of Carson and Los Angeles. CUSD currently serves nearly 26,000 students across 40 sites: 36 schools and 4 administration offices.

Recently, CUSD migrated 80 physical servers to a hyper-converged virtual environment, consolidated all site servers to one district office location, implemented offsite replication, and developed a new disaster recovery plan – all in the span of three months. This tremendous task has resulted in a reduction of CUSD’s total infrastructure cost of ownership, and has given them scalability, mobility, as well as data protection in a cost-efficient way.

CUSD’s IT infrastructure consists of eight physical hosts split between two clusters running 80 Hyper-V VMs. The VMs include file servers, database servers, domain controllers, and application servers, such as Microsoft Exchange 2013. For an educational organization, VM backup, replication, and recovery is not only extremely important, but is also required by law. CUSD stores years of student information, including attendance data, grades, as well as proof of graduation, CUSD is required by law to keep these records safe and accessible by students well after their graduation.

Previously, CUSD used a different backup solution that required agents to be installed on every guest server. “The previous solution had unrealistic backup windows and demanded excessive administration time. The product was also complex, had a steep learning curve, and required us to allocate additional time for staff training. Furthermore, the licensing for that solution posed a financial hardship for us. That’s why we started seeking a user-friendly and easy-to-deploy VM backup solution. The solution had to be robust and cost-effective, while offering low administrative overhead,” says Tony Burrus, Chief Technology Officer at the Compton Unified School District.

Solution

CUSD discovered NAKIVO Backup & Replication when Gabriel Barrientos, Network Administrator at Compton Unified School District, found the product available in the Synology Package Center. Installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication on a NAS creates a high-performance VM backup appliance, which uses the NAS CPU and RAM to perform VM backups and the available NAS storage to save VM backups. Because the VM backups can be written directly to disk and don’t have to travel over the network, VM backup speed can be greatly increased.

CUSD decided to put NAKIVO Backup & Replication to the test. “Installing and configuring NAKIVO Backup & Replication was nothing like we’ve experienced with any other VM backup solution. We now have NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on a Synology DS1817 and also use a Synology DS916+ as an offsite backup copy destination. The integration of Synology NAS servers and NAKIVO Backup & Replication allowed us to reach our objectives, while saving thousands of dollars, by reusing existing hardware,” says Gabriel.

NAKIVO Backup & Replication provides VM backup functionality that lets CUSD back up Hyper-V VMs in much less time than the district’s previous backup solution. “Inevitably, some time is needed to perform an initial backup of over 8 TB of data, regardless of the backup solution. However, once the initial backup was completed, the backup windows for all Hyper-V VMs were reduced from over 12 hours (with the previous backup solution), to just two hours with NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

Previously, CUSD used the native Hyper-V VM replication functionality, however, VM replication often failed, and, as is typical for built-in systems, the solution did not provide appropriate email notifications for failed VM replication jobs. That is why CUSD could not rely on the built-in replication solution for offsite disaster recovery. Now, NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows CUSD to maintain a disaster recovery site with ease, without saturating WAN links.

In terms of recovery features, instant file recovery is one of the most useful NAKIVO Backup & Replication features for CUSD, due to the software’s ability to quickly recover files directly from VM backups, without needing to recover the entire VM first. “Instant file recovery saves us time and resources. Accidental file deletions occur often, and with instant file recovery, lost files can be recovered just in a couple of clicks,” says Gabriel.

Results

NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on Synology NAS provides CUSD with the ability to back up and replicate their Hyper-V VMs, as well as recover files from Hyper-V VM backups. With the VM backup feature, CUSD shortened their backup job times by 6X, from 12 hours to 2 hours, while with the VM replication feature, they were able to improve the success rate of VM replication jobs. Thanks to instant file recovery, all files and folders can now be recovered directly from Hyper-V VM backups in minutes. “NAKIVO Backup & Replication has saved CUSD a tremendous amount of time and money. I’m busy as a network administrator, but NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows me to completely delegate the VM backup and replication tasks; now I can attend to other matters, knowing that I will receive email notifications of completed backup and replication jobs. NAKIVO Backup & Replication provided CUSD with a robust and cost-effective VM backup solution for protecting our virtual environment,” says Gabriel.

About the Compton Unified School District

The Compton Unified School District (CUSD) is a school district headquartered in Compton, California, USA. With 36 educational institutions that include primary, middle, K-8, and high schools, the district serves approximately 26,000 students. The mission of the Compton Unified School District is to empower leaders to lead, teachers to teach, and students to learn. They believe in fostering an environment that encourages leaders and teachers to be visionary, innovative, and accountable for the achievements of their students. For more information, please visit www.cusdsuccess.org.