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NCG slashes storage needs with new technology

British education provider NCG has slashed its back-up and storage requirements from 172TB to 30TB using software and services from Arcserve. It has also reduced its back-up window by 80%.

The technology in use was Arcserve’s Unified Data Protection software, with added deduplication and compression features. It is these last two elements that helped reduce the IT overhead so much.

NGT has a lot of traffic in its infrastructure, and data loss is not permissible. A skills and training provider with 102 locations across the UK, it has 3000 staff serving 133,00 students and offers 23,000 apprenticeships every year.

NCG head of infrastructure Justin Hannan said: “It’s vital that we can access our data 24/7 – the longevity of our organisation depends on it. But the previous software was taking far too long to complete back-ups. We needed something faster, easier to use and more cost effective – that’s what Arcserve UDP gave us. The benefits were apparent from day one and they went beyond speed. UDP’s deduplication and compression features have allowed us to save time and money, and the reporting process is much simpler. That’s why we’re looking to extend it throughout the organisation.”

The 172 TB of data under protection includes student and staff records, enrolment information and financial data. The formats covered include Microsoft Exchange data, an SQL database and 350 virtual and physical servers.

Most of the organisation’s day-to-day operations rely on data being available constantly. The IT team realised that its existing disk-only data back-up tool couldn’t cope with the group’s growing volumes of data. There were also issues with the cost of its licence fees and consumption of IT resources. And it lacked other features NCG needed such as incremental back-up capabilities.

Logistics were challenging. Daily back-ups involved many members of the IT team and up to 49TB of storage space. They offered a single report which made it impossible to get separate information for each of the six divisions.

The NCG IT team selected Arcserve UDP based on its ability to lower the amount of data to be protected thanks to data reduction technologies, which in turn cut the cost of licensing fees and freed up staff time. UDP’s deduplication and compression features enabled NCG to squeeze its data from 172TB to just 30TB.