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, The Ohio State University, 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 conduct 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 fuels digital capabilities everywhere on campus. Our data must be available nonstop in order to achieve top-tier status.”
Ensuring nonstop data availability was UNLV’s challenge. Four IT solutions had been deployed, but none delivered continuous availability. Recovery was unreliable. Data was at risk.
“Data loss would be devastating,” Nicpon said. “It could set researchers back a decade or more, 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 a big part of data protection,” 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 45,000 students, faculty and staff.
“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 nonstop data protection and continuous availability 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.”
Continuous data availability 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.”
When a genomic researcher approached UNLV about sequencing petabytes of public- domain DNA for Alzheimer’s research, the university designed a strategy to provide computing power, store the immense amount of data and keep it available.
“Veeam can make any workload 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 couldn’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. “Recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives are easier to meet 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 bursting with features, yet the overall 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 save, the total is roughly $200,000 per year. Veeam has been a huge win for us.”
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 available nonstop for faculty and students to perform meaningful research and make discoveries.