The term ‘availability’ at the Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia means all stakeholders in the organisation have access to IT facilities and data within the service level agreement confines. This may seem like a fairly apt description of a service level agreement, but for a highly ranked education institution, system failure not only impacts the business but can severely impact their reputation.
“When the system goes down and fails to be restored in a timely manner during the critical periods such as admission and enrolment, it is very detrimental for the business,” says Danny Natalies, CIO of Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia.
“Because for the education industry, these periods are the time when we generate revenue; the education tuition fee still represents the majority of revenue for the institution.”
The clients of today’s education institutions are also more assertive and expectations are set at a high bar. Millenials attending university have grown up with technology and expect their learning experience to fit around their lifestyle. The IT function at these institutions must ensure students have access to data and information 24/7.
Founded in 1960, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, known as Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya (Unika), is one of the highest ranked private universities in Indonesia. The main campus is in Semanggi area, South Jakarta and the other campus is in Pluit, North Jakarta. This campus also houses the Atma Jaya Hospital. A new campus is being constructed in Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang and will open in July 2017.
Adapting to the concept of being multi-campus gave Natalies an opportunity to take stock of the IT environment. During the 2015-2019 period, Unika had three pillars of main work programs - to improve academic reputation, accelerate organisational transformation and increase social awareness. As part of the organisational transformation process; new business processes and new IT solutions were deployed to enable a seamless and always-on IT infrastructure across campuses.
“Previously when we did the backup, sometimes the image was successful, but when we tried to restore it, an error occurred. The corruption often happened in a critical period when the primary system was down. We felt our previous backup solution was the wrong investment,” Natalies explains.
The decision to move to the Veeam Availability Suite™ Enterprise Plus edition was made last year, thus allowing time for the system to be bed-in prior to switching over to operations as a three-campus institution.
The new package system campus solution went live in December 2016 following a 9-month rollout. “We did not customise it, we assumed it was an effective system because it was already implemented at other universities worldwide. Our legacy tailor-made system was obsolete, and it was not reliable. The way our students work is now very different, we needed to adopt more up-to-date technology for them.”
Natalies says the new generation of users are also more demanding in terms of response times.
“The Millennials want a response within one or two seconds and want to consistently receive this service level at anywhere, anytime.”
“With around 80 percent of our IT environment virtualised, we needed a robust availability solution. After comparing against the incumbent legacy solution and other alternative solutions, Unika settled on what was reviewed as the best solution – Veeam.”
Natalies says Veeam was the most impressive as it utilises less time to do the processes, whether it is to back up or restore.
At the same time as the Veeam solution was deployed, on-site HPE StoreEasy 1650 storage for around 20TB production capacity with RAID 6 was installed.
“Last year’s IT project was a big, big project. We changed our campus infrastructure, virtualised our environment and improved our backup and storage arrangements. Since we were adopting a new campus availability solution, it seemed like a good time to refresh all aspects of the environment,” Natalies said.
“The biggest issue, though, was not implementing the technology, but the adoption of the technology, ensuring that the user wants to use the technology. I used the momentum around the new campus solution to change the entire IT environment.”
As a result of having a fresh IT infrastructure in place, the system as a whole is more robust. The old system could only handle 300 concurrent users – each faculty had to be allotted a time quota. When the third campus at Unika comes online, student numbers are expected to peak to around 40,000.
With the new system there is no issue in terms of availability, and students can also use iOS and Android apps to access the system.
“Veeam is ready and directly supports virtualisation with the easiest features and can accommodate both our current virtual platform and environment – a hybrid cloud - and also into the future, a virtual platform that we are now evaluating to migrate to - a public cloud.
“Veeam is enabling us to meet the SLAs of our IT services. It has increased user and stakeholder satisfaction and enterprise experiences, and helped us gain the confidence and retention of our users. The management and student population can now focus their efforts on achieving their growth objectives.”
The complaint system for Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia’s legacy backup infrastructure was recording up to 150 issue pick-ups a day. This number has now reduced to around 40 pick-ups per day with the Veeam Availability Suite in place.
“Also with the previous system I had two guys scheduled to stand by for the backup and restore process, to supervise the process. Now there are no staff members supervising the process.” Natalies says these staff members have been redirected to other strategic projects.
“By having a more efficient process and a reliable solution, I can allocate less resources for that area, because Veeam has a self-running scheduler and checking process. The idle resources freed up, I can utilise them in another area.”
The previous backup system was not reliable and very time-consuming. Natalies says the restart time for the system previously was around 24 hours, now it only takes around one hour to restore the system. A backup is usually completed within two hours, compared to five hours previously – with a high probability that the backup would fail and has to be done again.
“Veeam’s monitoring, reporting and capacity planning capabilities give me more comprehensive information and also more summarised information, rather than a detailed analysis of data or report.”