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Southeast Regional College reduces recovery times by using Lexcom services

Southeast Regional College serves a region of more than 70,000 adults living in over 70 communities spread throughout 20,000 square kilometers. The College structure includes the Administration Office, centered in Weyburn, and six campuses in Assiniboia, Estevan, Indian Head, Moosomin, Weyburn and Whitewood.

Their Problem

Southeast Regional College has been using virtualized infrastructure for over 3 years. As part of the infrastructure virtualization, the college suffered from a few challenges. The first challenge the college faced was that it was using a significant amount of enterprise storage to host the virtual machines. Hosting each operating system on the SAN provided a significant amount of overhead for the college. As the college expanded its infrastructure, the overhead increased, which resulted in additional cost compared to internal disk. The second challenge was around the backup of the environment. Moving to virtualization introduced additional complexity around the virtualized environment. The College used vRanger to perform live exports of virtual machines on a regular basis. While this solution worked well, the recovery time to import the virtual machines was in excess of 48 hours. As 48 hours would be a large disruption to the services they offered, the college was looking for a solution that would improve on this.

Our Solution

To address the campuses challenges, we turned to NetApp to help solve some of the issues. NetApp allowed the college to minimize the storage overhead caused by virtualization by being able to duplicate the operating systems on the storage device. This resulted in a storage savings of 70% over the existing solution.

To improve on the recovery time objective, we leveraged NetApp's snaphot and SnapManager's application suite to integrate with the virtual environment. This allowed the College to perform crash-consistent snapshots within seconds and replicate the virtual machines offsite for disaster recovery purposes. In the event of a disaster, the College could quickly revert to a snapshot in either location within minutes instead of hours, drastically improving the College's recovery capabilities.

To solve this challenge, we partnered with NetApp to provide the ability to snapshot the environment on a regular basis and replicate these snapshots to a remote campus. The snapshots are application aware, to ensure that all data is recoverable to the latest snapshot in the remote location over the IP network. The college is now able to be fully operational within 4 hours of a major disaster.