The ČVUT provides its employees, students and to an extent, the general public, its IT Computing and Information Centre services. Information systems, from authentication and mail servers, to repositories and special applications, contain 70 TB of data that is necessary – with the aim to keep up with the need for constant availability – to back up efficiently and, if necessary, to recover quickly with the least possible loss of data. Critical applications include the KOS Study System, support for science and research V3S, and complete support for internal administration.
The heart of the Czech Technical University in Prague’s information architecture is the data centre with 10 physical nodes and 222 virtual machines. The university’s networks transmit 7,850 TB of data annually and there are 560 user roles registered in the school’s information system, with around 5,000 new user accounts being created each year.
“The functionality and availability of many of our systems is a prerequisite for the work of the university staff, for meeting research goals and, of course, in order to properly conduct educational processes. In order to meet these expectations, we need to have top-quality backup technologies with the certainty of timely recovery”, explains Marek Kalika, Director of the Computing and Information Centre.
The Czech Technical University in Prague, based on its own experience with previous systems, had sufficient background and knowledge to select a new solution that would effectively cover all the needs associated with backup and that would use the university’s information architecture. The main selection criteria included the support of full and partial backup and recovery of virtual machines, compatibility with Hitachi and IBM storage, efficient management and ease of use. Five products were judged in the tender, and the set requirements were best met by Veeam’s technologies.
The Czech Technical University in Prague chose Veeam and three months later the new solution was fully deployed, fine-tuned and fully functional. With Veeam® Availability Suite™ and Veeam agents to assist with physical machine backup, more than 20,000 students and 5,000 university employees can fully rely on the systems to be permanently available and fully ready to support their educational, research and scientific activities.
The successful implementation of the new solution also involved a Veeam certified partner, AutoCont, who, besides providing implementation and consulting services, trained the Computing and Information Centre’s staff.
“Professional support is really important to us, because we can only rely on the fact that we can jointly solve even the most difficult problems”, explains Marek Kalika.
The whole implementation project was completed by ČVUT’s IT experts in just 14 days, utilizing the implementation, consulting and training services of a Veeam certified partner.
Veeam meets ČVUT´s requirements, not only in terms of offered functionality and compatibility with existing features, but also through easy implementation and substantial simplification of backup management. An important role, though not quite crucial, has been the cost issue. Compared with competing products, the university saved, according to a qualified estimate, about 60 percent of their investment funds and reduced their operating costs associated with accessibility by half.
In total, Veeam’s products manage backup for three hypervisors (one Microsoft Hyper-V cluster with more than 80 application servers and two VMware vSphere clusters with more than 150 Linux virtual servers) and over 70 TB of data.
“So far, we have not encountered fatal problems that would require the restoration of all or a substantial part of our information architecture. All of the hitherto interventions concerned the recovery of local user data and have always been done quickly and efficiently. But I’m absolutely sure that the same result would be achieved even in the case of larger events – and having such confidence is simply great”, concluded Marek Kalika.
The Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT) is one of the largest and oldest technical universities in Europe. At present, ČVUT has six university institutes and eight faculties — building, mechanical, electrical, nuclear, physical engineering, transport, architecture, biomedical engineering and information technology. The university, with nearly 5,000 employees, creates a learning environment for more than 20,000 students from which it educates technology professionals, scientists and foreign language managers who are dynamic, flexible and able to quickly adapt to market requirements. In 2018, ČVUT was ranked among the top 500 best world universities by QS World University Rankings, which ranks more than 4,500 universities globally. The university’s information technology systems are cared for by the Computing and Information Centre, which includes more than 60 employees.
Making the ČVUT concept accessible is one of the key elements in successfully completing the university’s core mission. We won’t discuss the bank or the internet store here, but the employees’ and students’ expectations regarding the availability and full functionality of the systems that must be used 24 hours a day. Therefore, the systems must not only be available during standard working hours or lessons, but permanently, and more importantly, at a high level. Continuing accessibility is critical not only for systems that support studies, research and scientific activities, but also for cooperation with industry and foreign partners.
The university’s original backup solution only partially covered these demanding requirements, and it became more and more difficult to ensure compatibility with new technologies and existing systems. Considerable problems, as well as time consuming management needs, were also being experienced by the faculty. It was, therefore, necessary to select a new platform that would remove these shortcomings while providing the university with space for further IT development.