Wake County Schools

Case Study

EDUCATION: WAKE COUNTY SCHOOLS

Wake County Schools Takes Advantage of STORServer’s Scalability to Expand its Data Protection Environment

Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is a large school district located in Raleigh, North Carolina. WCPSS serves over 143,000 students in 163 schools. Each school houses a local server and there are an additional 250 servers in the data center. The School System stores “Every kind of data you can imagine”, according to Vass Johnson, Senior Director of Networking at WCPSS. The schools backup about 200GB/night and the internal servers backup between 750 and 900GB/night for a total that ranges between 1TB and 1.5TB per night.

The Challenge:

Wake County was trying to backup the servers at 163 schools using individual tape drives on each of those servers running the ArcServ application. Backups weren’t getting done because they required a person at each school to run a manual backup each day. That required someone to insert and remove tapes, manually start the backup process, clean tape drives when required, and other duties when necessary. They experienced a high number of missed backups due to the labor-intensive nature of the previous system.

Wake County also required a disaster-recovery option in order to account for the fact that the school system is located only 200 miles from the Atlantic coast and is sometimes subject to the effects of tropical storms and hurricanes.

The Solution:

“Reliability. It’s the main thing I look for in backup; the fact that it just works. It’s dependable.”
Originally, STORServer wasn’t intended to entirely replace the old, problematic backup system. STORServer was just going to backup the schools’ servers. WCPSS purchased a STORServer Enterprise Backup Appliance (EBA) to accomplish that job. Their first STORServer performed so well that they decided to use the EBA to backup everything. That was November 2003 and they have since purchased additional STORServer Appliances to backup the data centers’ 250 servers as well as upgrades to replace the older EBA’s and to increase capacity as their data storage needs have grown.

Installation of their STORServer Appliances has gone as advertised which is a 2 to 3 day install from start to finish. Johnson said, “The implementation went very, very well. John Stephens (STORServer consultant) is just fantastic and he’s become a great friend and partner.”

Results:

Wake County’s backup process has become reliable and is now simple to operate and administer. The problems with missed backups have been eliminated and Johnson says that the best thing about having STORServer Appliances as their backup solution is, “Reliability. It’s the main thing I look for in backup; the fact that it just works. It’s dependable.”

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