Northampton-based Moulton College was established around 92 years ago, specialising in agriculture. The college has since diversified to include many other subjects, including sports, construction and carpentry.
It houses 3800 students and 800 employees requiring 24/7 access to IT services – both staff and students often work on campus until 10pm and continue to work from home afterwards.
“Our mission to provide outstanding education and training opportunities in land-based, construction and sports studies, for everyone who will benefit from them,” says Giles Batchelor, network development and services manager for Moulton College.
Moulton’s previous backup system was causing serious disruption to the working routines of everyone in the college.
Not only did the 14-hour backup window affect those wanting to use the college IT systems during this period, but the agent-based backup couldn’t effectively protect the virtual environment.
According to Batchelor, with staff and students in various locations across the country and a small IT budget, a near-100% virtualised IT environment was essential for the capability and flexibility needed.
“Our legacy, agent-based backup solution simply wasn’t up to the task of protecting the virtual environment. Even with us making tough decisions on what to backup, our backup window still lasted 14 hours between 5pm and 9am each day and we also ran four complete backups over the weekend,” Batchelor explained.
“This caused disruption for students and staff because they couldn’t access learning environments or other IT services during this time.
“We also couldn’t guarantee that services could be recovered quickly and consistently,” he added.
Moulton uses the Cutter Project as its IT consultant, which recommended the implementation of Veeam Backup and Replication v6.5 software. After doing so, Cutter provided a free upgrade to v7 for the college.
Veeam Software was recommended to the college after it explained to Cutter what sort of solution it was after. The two organisations bounced ideas off each other to find the best possible replacement backup system.
After Veeam was chosen, the upgrade from v6.5 to v7 took just four hours. The software allows Moulton to back up the entire virtual infrastructure in a hour window – a 71% reduction – and can be performed overnight while no one needs access to the virtual learning environment.
Although the college has not yet had need to recover a virtual machine, the vast improvements have left it confident that such a task could be completed in just minutes compared to the hours required with the legacy system.
“The benefits of Veeam would be more than enough if it had simply brought us peace of mind. The increased speed of backup and recovery, as well as Veeam’s ability to automatically test backups to make sure they can be recovered with 100% certainty, have made us much more confident that we can fulfil the needs of our staff and students,” claimed Batchelor.
“With this time and confidence in place, we are now looking to explore even more of Veeam’s capabilities to replicate our more critical servers that run email and learning environments,” he added.