Since classes were first held on campus in 1957, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has transformed itself from a small branch college into a thriving urban research institution serving nearly 31,000 students and employing thousands of faculty and staff. Along the way, the university has become an indispensable resource in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities.
UNLV is on a journey to attain the most prestigious university ranking in the nation: Top Tier research institution. To achieve this designation, data must be hyper-available for faculty and students to perform meaningful research and make discoveries.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is on its way to becoming a Top Tier public institution in research, education and community impact. By 2025, UNLV will join the ranks of Clemson, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers.
Top Tier universities make substantial economic contributions to the nation. Since 1980, they’ve helped launch more than 5,000 startup companies, according to the Association of University Technology Managers, and their patents have helped create 4 million jobs.
For UNLV, becoming a Top Tier institution means fostering a creative and innovative environment for faculty and students to do research and make discoveries. To define its journey, UNLV developed a comprehensive, data-driven plan.
“Data is the driving force at all universities,” said John Nicpon, Manager of Systems Engineering at UNLV. “Data enables innovation everywhere on campus. Our data must be hyper-available to achieve Top Tier status.”
Ensuring hyper-available data was UNLV’s challenge. Four IT solutions had been deployed, but none delivered hyper-availability. Recovery was unreliable. Data was at risk.
“Data loss would be devastating,” Nicpon said. “It could set researchers back years, causing them to lose funding. It could prevent students from submitting papers and graduating on time. It could even be life-threatening.”
UNLV operates a medical clinic and a pharmacy. Data loss could interfere with patient treatment and prescriptions. It could also lead to a breach in HIPAA compliance, resulting in fines. Maintaining compliance with state and federal laws can be challenging for universities.
“Compliance is part of hyper-availability,” Nicpon said. “We were spending too much time and money on IT solutions that didn’t deliver on either.”
Nicpon and his colleagues meet the computing needs of more than 40,000 users that comprise the UNLV campus community.
“UNLV is like a small city,” he said. “We needed to step up our game.”
Veeam® supports UNLV on its journey to becoming a Top Tier research university by delivering hyper-available data at massive scale.
“Veeam helps us create an academic environment where faculty and students can make cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs,” Nicpon said. “Veeam is the ace in our pocket for intelligent data management.”
Hyper-available data is the precursor to intelligent data management — another journey UNLV is undertaking. Data moves to a new state of intelligence, automatically anticipating needs to meet digital demands.
“Veeam is a game-changer for us,” Nicpon said. “This is the first time we’ve been able to standardize and simplify data management. We’ve reached a level of flexibility we’ve never had before, and we can respond to the needs of the university faster than ever.”
“Veeam can make any workload hyper-available — scalability is never an issue,” said Glenn Jett, Systems Administrator and Team Lead at UNLV. “Regulatory compliance isn’t an issue either. Veeam has built-in, end-to-end encryption. There’s never been a compliance requirement that Veeam can’t fulfill.”
Veeam is also agnostic, integrating with all storage solutions. When UNLV transitioned to Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) 3PAR StoreServ and StoreOnce, Veeam didn’t miss a beat.
“Veeam served as the bridge between our old storage and new, making the transition really easy,” Jett said. “Meeting recovery time and point objectives are easy to meet too because Veeam and HPE are tightly integrated. We couldn’t guarantee recovery before Veeam and HPE.”
What astonished UNLV most was Veeam’s price tag.
“Veeam is feature rich, yet the initial cost was similar to the renewal cost — just the renewal cost — of one of the previous solutions,” Nicpon said. “When you combine what we saved by eliminating those solutions with the management hours we saved is roughly $200,000 per year. Veeam has been a huge win for us.”