As colleges and universities move toward digital learning ecosystems, their IT departments must find solutions that expand accessibility and connectivity for faculty, staff and students.
The first step toward digital learning for Drenthe College was virtualising applications and databases on VMware vSphere. The second step was deploying VMware Horizon View—a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Next the IT team replaced backup.
“Backup didn’t offer plug-ins for Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange, so item-level recovery was very time-consuming,” said Patrick Lübbers, Senior Systems and Network Administrator at Drenthe College. “Restoring a single email for faculty or staff took an average of four hours, which added up to 10 hours each week.”
Item-level recovery wasn’t the only challenge. Recovering virtual machines (VMs) supporting the VDI could be time-consuming as well.
“The purpose of a VDI is to deliver maximum workplace productivity and convenience,” Lübbers said. “If our VDI failed and couldn’t be recovered quickly, our entire organisation would be crippled.”
Slow recovery made it nearly impossible to meet service level agreements (SLAs) with faculty and staff. Drenthe College requires IT services to be available and accessible from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. but expects services to be available 24.7.365.
Drenthe College replaced backup with Veeam® Backup & Replication™. Recovery with Veeam takes minutes, whether the IT team is recovering individual items from Exchange or entire VMs supporting the VDI. Veeam delivers 24.7.365 Availability of data.
“Virtual desktops deliver lessons and exams across all campuses,” Lübbers said. “If VMs supporting our VDI fail, we know we can restore them in minutes. Veeam helps us meet SLAs with faculty and staff,”
Lübbers said when the head of the purchasing department accidentally deleted his contacts in Exchange, the IT team recovered them quickly.
“When several administrators worried they would haven’t access to old emails when we upgraded to Office 365, we explained Veeam backs up Office 365, so we can recover in minutes.”
Veeam delivers 24.7.365 Availability of data by providing reliable backup and fast recovery. Fast recovery saves Lübbers approximately 10 hours per week, which gives him time to be proactive.
“Veeam gives me time to look for new, innovative solutions that will move the college forward,” Lübbers said. “My next project is upgrading our VDI.”
In addition to saving time, Veeam saves money for Drenthe College. Veeam was 60 percent less expensive than legacy backup because Veeam is licensed per CPU socket. Legacy backup was licensed per terabyte.
Veeam also enables the IT team to test software updates—with no impact on users. Veeam creates an isolated environment called a Virtual Lab so patches and upgrades can be tested before going into production.
During a software upgrade of Microsoft Identity Manager, which manages faculty, staff and students’ digital identities, a database administrator accidentally deleted 10,000 student accounts. Fortunately, the update was in Virtual Lab.
“All student accounts are managed by Identity Manager,” Lübbers said. “If an account is deleted, the linked email box and OneDrive are disconnected and cannot be reconnected automatically. If an account is recreated, a new mailbox and OneDrive will be generated, leaving the old mailboxes disconnected and the data unavailable. Virtual Lab is one of our favorite Veeam features.”