Designing Innovative Disaster Recovery for Leading Architecture School

One of the most compelling use cases for cloud data protection is disaster recovery (DR). DR operations are critical for every business, from startup to enterprise and from research to banking to retail. An inadequate disaster recovery plan or infrastructure can lead to, well, disaster…at the most critical moment.

While there are many effective DR architectures stemming from on-prem and co-located environments, the cloud offers a new dynamic in storage targets – one that can be safe, secure, economically viable and easily managed, with tools that an organization’s IT staff already knows.

Dell EMC data protection solutions include Cloud Disaster Recovery (Cloud DR), cloud-enabled disaster recovery infrastructure, that bolsters your business continuity operations and makes the most of your cloud investment, whether it be a hybrid cloud, public cloud platform (Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure), or a multi-cloud environment. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Let’s look at an organization in Los Angeles which recently rolled out Dell EMC Cloud DR.

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is a top-ranked, award-winning institution that is shaping the great architectural minds of tomorrow and serves as an incubator for some of the most innovative thinking in architecture. SCI-Arc offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees and is home to over 500 students as well as 80 faculty members, most of whom are practicing architects.

SCI-Arc stores close to 600 TB of data, and one of the main challenges they are facing is the continuous growth of data, which is increasing 20 percent annually. Their prior back-up solution no longer met their needs as they missed their Service Level window. And with their data growth, this was only going to get worse. SCI-Arc’s primary export is the students’ revolutionary work, including animations and renderings that represent days of creativity and imagination by these students. This data must be kept safe and recoverable in any situation, because SCI-Arc needs a record of the files for accreditation and the students need their files for presentations, portfolios, and their careers. SCI-Arc chose to protect their data using Dell EMC Cloud DR hosted on AWS, ensuring that their data is kept safe and is recoverable at a moment’s notice.

Dell EMC Cloud DR provides SCI-Arc the ability to protect on-premises workloads by securely and efficiently copying image backup onto AWS S3 for disaster recovery. In fact, Dell EMC is so efficient that they back up 90 percent of SCI-Arc’s VMs in one hour and have slashed their backup windows from 36 hours down to three. In the event of a disaster, their cloud DR strategy built on Dell EMC Cloud DR offers rapid recovery and three-click failover, two-click failback, and the workloads can be run directly in AWS or recovered to VMware Cloud on AWS.

By deploying DR in this innovative manner, Dell EMC Cloud DR enables organizations to take advantage of the agility and cost effectiveness of cloud object storage. Resources in the cloud are spun up only when the primary data center isn’t available and decommissioned when they are no longer needed – a truly elastic environment. This is much more cost-effective than having hardware constantly up and running within the public cloud.

Maximum for the Minimum

Dell EMC Cloud DR requires a minimal footprint in AWS, as well as minimal compute cycles, resulting in a disaster recovery solution with minimal cost. Dell EMC was also able to help SCI-Arc maintain a smaller cloud footprint. Initially, SCI-Arc stored 570 TB of uncompressed data, after it is run through Dell EMC’s patented deduplication technology on-prem, and in the cloud, they are backing up about 10 TB of data – a 57:1 deduplication ratio. They also went from retaining six months’ worth of backups to retaining two years’ worth of cloud backups with ease, all while having little to zero network impact. Cloud DR has enabled SCI-Arc to become more cost-effective by eliminating the need for a secondary backup server.

Dell EMC was able to revolutionize backup in the cloud for SCI-Arc by eliminating a secondary DR, extending their cloud backup retention while reducing their overall cloud footprint. According to Peter Kekich, Network Systems Administrator at SCI-Arc, “Dell Technologies was our chosen provider because of their track record. Being able to recall all of these backups at a moment’s notice was crucial for us to be successful running our IT department at SCI-Arc.” In a creative environment such as SCI-Arc, Dell EMC data protection offers peace of mind and eliminates worries about whether student creativity and projects are getting backed up properly or if the data can be fully and promptly restored.

Learn more about SCI-Arc in this case study.

About the Author: Maxwell Robidoux

Max Robidoux is a Product Marketing Analyst at Dell EMC and is responsible for Cloud Data Protection and VMware Data Protection marketing, messaging and sales enablement. Prior to working at Dell, Max worked as a research technician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to Mass General, Max was a student at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where he graduated in May 2015.