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Viglen cuts backup time by 80% at Holmewood House Preparatory School

Holmewood House is a co-educational preparatory school for children between the ages of 3 and 13. The school serves Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area, and has 420 students and 150 members of staff. As a leading educational institution, it is absolutely crucial that the school provides a reliable and flexible IT system for its students. When data volumes outgrew its tape-based backup solution, the school chose Viglen, who implemented a SEPATON S2100-DS2 virtual tape library (VTL) which cut backup times by 80%.

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The Environment

Holmewood House manages a network of 9 servers with 300 client machines. The school was using a physical tape solution to back up its data and had built up a large tape library. Although this system had once been an efficient way to protect the institution’s files, this was no longer the case.
“The school had outgrown the tapes,” explains Jeff Morgan, IT Director for Holmewood House. “Now, the students are using all kinds of digital media, like video, audio and images, regularly, as well as the standard office-type applications, and as a consequence we’re handling a lot more data now than we ever have before”.
The quantity of data was so large that backing up the data onto tapes became a practical impossibility. “We’re now backing up 500 gigabytes a day,” explains Morgan. “A full backup with the tapes took 36 hours. There just weren’t enough hours in the day for us to keep using the tapes as a primary solution”.
Another major problem the school was encountering was that retrieving lost files could be a very lengthy process. Pupils and staff typically lose five or six files a week, and with the backup and retrieval system the school had in place, it took up to two hours for the IT department to locate and restore a file. “As you can imagine, this wasn’t an ideal solution for students or staff,” says Morgan.

The Challenge

Holmewood House needed a solution that would reduce backup and recovery times significantly. The new system had to be capable of handling the volumes of data that Holmewood House was generating without being overwhelmed by it. In addition, it was important to the IT department that it bought a solution that could integrate seamlessly with its existing architecture, quickly and without the need for additional investment.
“Price was also a very important factor,” says Morgan. “Because we’re a school, everything needs to be planned and budgeted for very carefully. We needed to find a solution that we could afford”.

The Solution

Viglen installed a SEPATON S2100-DS2 virtual tape library (VTL) to allow for faster backup and recovery.
Holmewood House examined a number of different backup options, including an upgraded physical tape system, but Viglen’s recommendation of the SEPATON S2100-DS2 was the best option.
“We went with the Viglen solution for four main reasons,” says Morgan. “The SEPATON box could easily cope with the quantity of data we would be backing up, retrieval would be simple, it would be easy to implement and the price was very reasonable”.

The Results

Holmewood House experienced no problems when it implemented the virtual tape library, which was fully integrated into the school’s IT systems within a week. Morgan and the IT department immediately saw a huge improvement in back-up time. That represents a time saving of over 80%.

“A complete backup of the system used to take 36 hours. Now it takes just seven,”
Jeff Morgan,
IT Director, Holmewood House

The solution also backs data up automatically through the day. Every IT user in the institution has an area on the network, and the system takes snapshots of each area every hour.
Retrieval of files is now much easier than it was with the old system.
“We are still experiencing about five or six lost files a week,” says Morgan. “We can now retrieve a lost file in six minutes as opposed to two hours. It’s difficult to express just how much more convenient that is”.
There is also room for the solution to grow alongside the school. The VTL is capable of backing up more data than it currently does and this extra capacity will help Morgan protect the ever-increasing volumes of information the students and staff are generating. The new system can also be easily expanded if necessary, ensuring it will be able to perform its duty into the long term. Holmewood House also wanted to back up its data to a physical artefact once a week for added security. The company still uses a physical tape system that backs up the files every Friday. With the Viglen solution, backup time to tape has been reduced from 36 hours to just 15 hours. Morgan is satisfied with the product and has no hesitation about recommending Viglen and the SEPATON S2100-DS2 VTL to others.
“The solution did exactly what we wanted, exactly what we needed, and at a very reasonable price too”. he says.

“With the SEPATON box we can retrieve a lost file in six minutes as opposed to two hours. It’s difficult to express just how much more convenient that is”.
Jeff Morgan,
IT Director, Holmewood House
“The Viglen solution did exactly what we wanted, exactly what we needed, and at a very reasonable price”.
Jeff Morgan,
IT Director, Holmewood House