With a flagship campus in the neighborhood of Santa Fe, Mexico City and a second campus in Tijuana, Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) strives to offer an excellent learning experience to every student.
Like many leading higher-education organizations, UIA uses a wide range of digital tools to help support its students, staff and faculty. As well as applications for classroom teaching and remote learning, UIA is in the process of designing and implementing a disaster recovery (DRP) and business continuity plan (BCP).
Francisco Garnica, Head of Infrastructure at UIA, said: “Our digital platforms are crucial for the smooth running of the university, and we are responsible for delivering reliable access to a range of information systems, including Microsoft 365 applications. As part of our DRP and BCP, we recently upgraded the IT infrastructure for our business systems, which now comprises around 500 VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines [VMs] running on 30 physical servers in our primary data center.”
To protect its digital platforms, the university previously relied on Veritas NetBackup to perform tape backups of its production environment. However, completing data protection processes was such a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that it was only practical to complete one backup of its core systems every six months.
“We were unable to back up our data while our systems were running, which meant we were forced to complete the process in between academic terms,” said Garnica. “Another challenge with the previous approach is that our Veritas NetBackup tool was licensed based on capacity. Our data volumes are growing year on year, so the cost of data protection was rising — despite the fact that we were excluding non-critical systems from our backup runs.”
With cyberthreats such as ransomware attacks on the rise, UIA decided to look for a new approach to data protection. The organization looked for a faster and more cost-effective way to back up its entire data center, increase the frequency of its backups and guard against cyberattacks.
To enhance its level of protection, UIA decided to replace its tape-based system with a modern platform based on Veeam® Availability Suite™ and Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365. Delivered by Veeam business partner HyperTEC, the new solution enables the organization to protect its entire IT landscape from end to end while cutting the time required to restore its systems in a disaster scenario.
“Veeam really stood out from the other vendors we considered — they offered us a solution that met all our requirements and more,” said Garnica. “Using Veeam Backup & Replication — part of the Veeam Availability Suite — we can encrypt our backups by default, helping to enhance the security of our data. The solution is also fully hardware agnostic, which offered us the flexibility to select the IT infrastructure that struck the optimal balance of performance, reliability and cost-efficiency.”
By moving to an easy-to-use, per-workload license, UIA can keep its operational costs for data protection lean, even as its data volumes grow. “Our Veeam licenses are portable, which gives us the ability to cover all our current workloads and the freedom to add more in the future,” said Garnica. “We had no hesitation with moving forward with Veeam — and we’ve signed a multi-year contract for data-protection services.”
Working with HyperTEC, UIA deployed and configured a new data protection solution to perform regular backups of its entire data center. This process can now be executed and completed automatically from a single point of control, greatly reducing the IT management time required for data protection activities.
“In the past, we were limited to backing up our mission-critical systems only; even then, we could only spare enough time and resources to complete the process twice a year,” said Garnica. “Since engaging with HyperTEC to deploy Veeam Availability Suite and Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365, we back up all our data — including non-critical systems — multiple times a year. We greatly appreciate the support that HyperTEC provided throughout the process — they played a big role in our success.”
As well as protecting its digital platforms from the threat of data loss, UIA can restore VMs from backups within minutes — something that was impossible with the previous tape-based approach. Looking ahead, the organization plans to further enhance its resilience by enabling immutable backups, which will help minimize the risk of a cyberattack compromising backed-up data.
“We are very excited about the next few months, as we will be working closely with Veeam to enhance our data protection platform — enabling even higher levels of automation, as well as leveraging the latest data-immutability capabilities,” said Garnica. “Thanks to the data protection capabilities we’ve gained from Veeam, we’re in a stronger position than ever to deliver high-quality information services to staff, students and faculty across UIA.”
Automates manual data-protection tasks, enabling six full data center backups each year.
“We no longer need to be glued to a screen painstakingly backing up each environment one-by-one,” said Garnica. “By saving time through automation, we can now complete full backups multiple times a year — ensuring our data is better protected.”
Reduces licensing costs, enabling maximum protection for growing data volumes while minimizing operational spend.
By moving away from a volume-based licensing agreement, UIA can protect its large — and growing — data-center landscape without sending operational costs spiraling.
Allows rapid responses to ransomware attacks, helping to ensure service continuity.
“During the last six months, there have been a few occasions where we’ve needed to fall back on our Veeam backups to fix an internal error or even to recover from a cyberattack,” said Garnica. “Recently, the Veeam solution allowed us to restore a system that suffered a ransomware attack to a VM state from two hours before the attack in just half a day.”