University of Arizona Chooses to Backup Massive Digital Content Collection

The University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography has implemented’s cloud backup and disaster recovery (DR) solution to support its anticipated massive growth of digital content, as well as backup for mission-critical materials important for day-to-day operations. The center ultimately chose over alternative solutions due to ease of use and performance, as well as its ability to scale as content grows.

cloud-backup-university-arizonaThe University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography is home to some of the most iconic 20th century North American masters, from Ansel Adams to Wynn Bullock. Along with the more than six million physical archived objects such as contact sheets and photographers’ scrap books, the museum houses an equally impressive digital archive. The fast-growing collection was in serious need of a high-performance backup and recovery solution that could easily scale to meet the digital archives’ anticipated expansion plans.

“The center is going to be digitizing for a very long time and generating a tremendous amount of content,” said Jim Coleman, Institutional IT Applications, Project and Services Success Office/Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. “We needed to have a backup for all this digital content and it needed to be scalable to accommodate growth. The center is capable of digitizing 4 terabytes to 6 terabytes of content a year, which puts the backup requirement easily at 20 terabytes.”

While scalability was key, performance was equally important, since the center was also looking to back up mission-critical materials such as email, contracts, and office documents – all central to day-to-day operations. The center needed a backup solution that could restore 500GB of data in an eight-hour time frame.

cloud-backup-solutions-zettaFamiliar with from previous experiences managing IT in libraries and other institutions, Coleman began an evaluation of the solution along with other cloud backup and recovery services. Ease of use, scalability, and speed were his top three requirements, all of which nailed, especially when it came to performance.

A test run of each backup solution was conducted, moving a sample size of 50GB of data. The other backup solutions took 10 hours to complete, while achieved the task in one hour – 10 times faster than the competition, according to Coleman.

Appliance-based backup

Beyond speed and scalability, the backup solution needed to be easy to use and help contain costs. “The center has no one with deep knowledge of technology with the exception of me,” added Coleman. “We’re a small business on a tight budget and we couldn’t go with a solution that would require a dedicated IT staff to run, maintain, and operate.”

The ability to get up and running on quickly was a decided advantage as well. Appliance-based solutions, often complex and expensive, were eliminated from the center’s evaluation altogether before choosing “An appliance-based backup and recovery solution would have had to be collocated because the center has no data center,” said Coleman. “Also, it would need to managed, and we have no one who can administer it. Backup has always been a top concern, but now, I’m completely confident in our solution in terms of how well works.”