Delaware adopts statewide data backup strategy

The First State is saving money and boosting uptime by centralizing its backup systems and network services.

'Right now, we back up 103 different boxes with up to 500G per night,' said Doug Lilly, senior telecommunications technologist in Delaware's Technology and Information Department.

Galaxy 4.2 software from CommVault Systems Inc. of Oceanport, N.J., serves 'all facets of the backup strategy' including disaster recovery, Lilly said. The software stows backup data for Microsoft Exchange, Windows 2000 Active Directory, and file and print servers.

Delaware has Symmetrix storage systems from EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., at four locations across the state. If a hurricane over Delaware Bay knocked out one site, the three other systems would still preserve the state's data.

The state formerly used Banyan Vines as its network operating system, Lilly said, and each agency maintained its own mail servers and was responsible for its own backup.

'We knew we needed something more enterprise-level,' he said.

When Delaware made the transition to Microsoft Windows 2000 three years ago, it standardized on Microsoft Exchange. At the same time, it switched to centralized IT management. The Technology and Information Department took charge of all domain controllers and became overseer of the state's WAN.

Lilly said he doesn't know the exact cost savings from the CommVault software, but the whole backup process can now be run by a handful of people.

'We can go in, restore all the libraries, and back up and restore'all from one piece of software,' he said.

Changing from agency autonomy to central management of backup and e-mail was a stretch, however.

'Anytime you take responsibility or authority from somebody, there's a negative reaction at first,' he said. 'But we've had 99.95 percent uptime for our Exchange system. Now that it's up and running, they like it.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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