Data protection vendors love to tout their large enterprise customers. And, why not? If you can support a massive organization it speaks to the robustness of your solution. But what’s often left unsaid are the complexities of such products.
Older, legacy backup tools – you know the ones! – can usually scale pretty well, but they often take a team of data scientists to keep them running. In a very large organization it’s not a big deal to dedicate a team of backup experts to keeping your data protection running smoothly, or getting it over the bumps. But what about a smaller organization?
Smaller IT shops may only have half a dozen people and they can’t afford to dedicate one or two of them to backups. This is the problem we recently ran into at Bryn Athyn College, a small private college in Pennsylvania. They were facing a real data protection dilemma.
They had three different products in their environment, and all were problematic. Their main tool may have had a name that sounds a bit like “simple,” but it was anything but!
It would take an operator about six months to really become versed in the software. It had its own terminology, many confusing relationships between entities, and if something went wrong it took days to fix. Sometimes the staff at Bryn Athyn couldn’t figure it out and had to call in a consultant. That meant precious dollars spent out of an always tight IT budget.
They knew they needed a solution, so they turned to Syncsort and NetApp and the NSB solution. What a change! First, it only took a week to become familiar with how to use NSB. This means more staff members can be versed on the solution and it’s not limited to one staff “expert” any longer (very useful in the event the expert wasn’t available when something went wrong).
The person dedicated to backups used to spend about 80% of her time baby-sitting the backup environment, and now she spends only 20% of her time on it. As the Director of Technology at Bryn Athyn put it, “Her whole life isn’t backups.”
But what about the real test, having to restore data? Turns out that not long after NSB was installed, there was a problem with an anti-virus product update, which ended up destroying the data on several servers! Repairing this mess would have taken days with their previous “simple” product. But with NSB, the college got the servers back online in half an hour each. Pretty sweet results, I’d say!
So, yes, it takes certain skills to support very large customers. But it also takes certain skills to truly help users that have limited staff, less money and no ability to hire teams with targeted expertise. That skill is knowing how to truly integrate software and hardware like NSB, and how to make operations easy and intuitive. We hear from our customers all the time that NSB is reliable and easy to use. If you’re having your own problems with backup complexity, why not drop us a line? We’d love to talk to you about how we can help.
You can read more details about Bryn Athyn’s experience here.