Delaware adopts statewide data backup strategy

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

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

Delaware is using Galaxy Version 4.2 software from CommVault Systems Inc. of Oceanport, N.J., for 'all facets of its backup strategy,' including disaster recovery, Lilly said. The software can stow data for applications including Microsoft Exchange, Windows 2000 Active Directory, and file and print servers.

Delaware is also using Symmetrix storage tools from EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., for much of its data storage, Lilly said. The EMC systems are at four locations scattered throughout the state. If a hurricane near Delaware Bay knocked out one site, for example, the three other systems would still preserve the state's data.

Delaware used to run Banyan Vines as its network operating system, Lilly said. Each state agency maintained its own mail servers and was responsible for its own backup systems.

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

When the state deployed Windows 2000 three years ago, the state standardized each agency on Microsoft Exchange. Now the state runs everything under Windows 2000, Lilly said.

At the same time, Delaware decided to switch to a centralized IT management model. The Technology and Information Department took charge of all domain controllers and became the overseer of the state's WAN.

Lilly said he doesn't know the exact cost savings gleaned through using the CommVault software, but the whole backup process is run by a handful of people and the Galaxy software costs less than similar products offered by other companies.

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

It was a challenge going from a situation where every agency was autonomous to one where the Technology and Information Department centrally managed all backups and e-mail, Lilly said.

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

(Posted Feb. 24 and revised 3:45 p.m. Feb. 25)

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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