Groton Utilities achieves comprehensive 3-2-1 data protection

Combination of DXi deduplication, scalar tape and Veeam software protect against data loss and malware while cutting costs.

Connecticut-based Groton Utilities is using DXi® disk-based deduplication and Scalar® tape in combination with Veeam backup and replication software to consolidate multi-site backup and disaster recovery (DR), protecting its critical data against malware and loss and reducing overall costs. Groton’s implementation demonstrates a commitment to 3-2-1 data protection best practices: three copies of data, using two different media types, with one copy offline and off-site.

Effective protection for VMs

Groton Utilities provides water, power and other services for a wide area of southeastern Connecticut, including the City of Groton. Over the years, the IT team’s approach to backup and DR protection has evolved — for example, when the servers were all physical, backups were written to a tape library. As servers became 95 percent virtualised, disk then became part of the strategy. To protect virtual machines (VMs) more effectively, the team chose software from Veeam, and it added Quantum DXi deduplication appliances to handle data growth, in part because the company had such a positive experience with Quantum’s tape library and service support team. The DXi appliance not only provides fast backup and restore to keep data readily available but also delivers high deduplication rates that enable Groton to retain backup data for a full 30 days.

“We saw the value of a 3-2-1 approach to data protection,” said Tom O’Farrell, Groton Utilities system administrator, “but we hadn’t found an effective and cost-efficient way to implement it until we deployed the Quantum-Veeam solution.”

Tape protects against ransomware

Writing data to tape provides “air gap” protection against data loss and malware, including ransomware. The IT team created a configuration using the two different data centres and disk-to-disk replication. Veeam backs up the VMs to the DXi appliance, and the team’s legacy backup application creates tapes.

“We have seen the damage and costs that recent ransomware attacks have created, and we know the best protection is having a kind of ‘air gap’ — keeping a copy of critical data on tape that is isolated from the vulnerable spinning disk,” said O’Farrell.

Reducing backup complexity

The Groton Utilities team plans to simplify the backup system further by adding another DXi at its second data centre to back up both VMs and CIFS shares to the DXi appliances using Veeam, and then replicating backup data between data centres using the DXi appliances. The new system will leverage integration of the DXi systems with the Veeam Data Mover to increase performance and support features such as synthetic full backup and Instant VM Recovery directly on a DXi appliance. Veeam will also back up the physical servers and create tapes.

“The power of the Quantum and Veeam technology is enabling us to simplify,” said O’Farrell. The DXi appliances are getting excellent dedupe rates and providing highly effective replication,” said O’Farrell. “Veeam can now do backups for both VMs and physical servers, and it can write data both to CIFS shares and to tape libraries. Our experience over the last year is that the Quantum and Veeam elements of the combined solution work very well together.”

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