AppAssure Software, a provider of award-winning backup and disaster recovery software for mission-critical Windows Applications Servers, today announced that the University of West Alabama, a state-supported, coeducational institution of higher learning located in west central Alabama, replaced the existing backup solutions and switched to Replay4, AppAssure’s flagship backup and recovery product, to restore its mission-critical systems faster while using less storage.
Like many IT professionals at universities and colleges around the country, Michael Pratt, the Director of the Office of IT at the University of West Alabama, holds his breath each time the subject of disaster recovery comes up. He oversees a 14 person team responsible for the technical infrastructure of the University. “We handle everything that flashes, blinks, or plugs into the wall,” says Pratt. “Anything related to technology—from servers, networks, PCs, training and support to ID cards, phones, security cameras and door access—it’s ours.”
With over 10,000 active accounts to manage and protect, Pratt had serious concerns about the reliability of existing backup systems in case a disaster happened. He kept asking himself, “What can we do to get systems up in a reasonable amount of time AND do so without breaking the bank?”
“We originally backed up to tape only, and then moved to disk to disk to tape. But with our configuration, we could only back up data. We didn’t do anything to back up our operating systems or any of our applications, and that definitely concerned me.” Pratt knew that if anything went wrong, it would take him time to acquire the necessary hardware, do an install, get the OS and applications ready, and then restore data. “We had an unofficial policy that stated when our applications would be available in the case of a disaster. I was never comfortable with this.”
With more students coming to the University, Pratt and his team had to continually back up more and more data. “The backup windows were growing,” says Pratt, “and we had to continually expand our backup volumes to keep up with the changing disk space requirements. I wasn’t comfortable with how we were doing our overall backups. I knew I could not stand up and say we had the best system and processes in place. In the back of my mind, I kept wondering… what if?” So Pratt went searching for a better solution.
Pratt and his staff did a lot of research and participated in online demos to make sure they were getting exactly what they wanted at the price point they needed. “We looked at an upgrade/expansion of our existing solution, and we researched Replay, and other systems,” Pratt says. “We were approached by a vendor who had partnered with Datatel, UWA’s Administrative System provider, to use them for DR. After we found out that they were using Replay on their backend, we were convinced Replay was the solution for us.”
Replay now gives Pratt’s team both item-level restores plus entire server protection, for which they all breathe a sigh of relief. “The ability for Replay to automatically test our SQL databases as they are backed up to make sure they’re mountable is terrific,” says Pratt. “This is a huge feature due to our small staff. Replay is basically testing our backups for us and reporting back. And the ease of use is unbelievable! We have the ability to mount the restore points in an Explorer window with the click of a button and copy a file from the restore point (E:, files, etc.) in no time. With Replay, I can do a granular-level restore of an item in 30 seconds … from any available restore point!”
In addition, Pratt is pleased not only with Replay’s virtual failover and ability restore to dissimilar hardware, but also with the huge space savings he’s seeing due to Replay’s de-dupe and compression.
The bottom line, says Pratt, is this: “With Replay, we’re able to do so much more than ever before. We can now set specific, realistic, enforceable guidelines, policies and timelines for our backups and DR plans.”
To download a free 14-day trial of Replay4 backup and disaster recovery software, visit AppAssure's website.
About AppAssure Software
AppAssure Software (appassure.com) is a leading provider of innovative backup and disaster recovery software for Windows application servers. AppAssure’s flagship product, Replay 4 is an application-aware, disk-based imaging solution that automatically and continuously snapshots entire Windows application servers delivering accelerated application backups and disaster recovery for in minutes.