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Northwestern University

Northwestern University Enrolls Veeam for Data Protection and Virtualization Management

We have a higher degree of confidence in our ability to restore services to our campus community with Veeam’s file-level recovery capabilities.
John Walsh,
Manager of Processing & Information Platform Services, Cyberinfrastructure
Northwestern University Information Technology
Northwestern University, Northwestern University


Founded in 1851, Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment enhanced by the richness of Chicago, Illinois.


  • Back up and recover virtual machines more efficiently
  • Improve availability and utilization in a growing VMware vSphere environment


  • Faster and more frequent backups with reduced backup storage needs
  • Enhanced capacity planning
  • Efficient problem resolution

The Business Challenge

Approximately 80 percent of the information technology infrastructure at Northwestern University is virtualized. Nearly 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) run a variety of applications and workloads, including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server,

Exchange, web servers and Blackboard, an online course management system.

In the early days of Northwestern’s virtualization initiative, the university’s IT Cyberinfrastructure team performed traditional file-based backups on VMs with the same product used for backing up physical servers. The critical drawback was that backups were not completing within the allotted backup window.

“Our backup process was simply taking too long and preventing us from completing a full, daily backup on every VM,” said John Walsh, Manager of Processing and Information Platform Services, Information Technology for Northwestern University Information Technology, Cyberinfrastructure. “Restoring VMs was a challenge too, requiring us to provision and manually restore the data back to each VM. From a risk management perspective, if we had ever found ourselves in a disaster situation, it could have been days before getting our mission-critical apps fully operational.”

The Veeam Solution

Northwestern University Information Technology considered several virtualizationspecific

Northwestern University
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