Hurricane-threatened school finds online backup relief
“As a non-profit, our bottom line is how successful our graduates are.... MozyPro reduces our IT costs and allows us to invest more in our students’ futures.”
As the IT director for Porter-Gaud School, DuBose Egleston worried each hurricane season whether or not the school’s data would be safe. Without an off-site backup plan, Porter-Gaud School faced trouble each time disaster struck until they implemented MozyPro. Now floods, fires, and hurricanes cannot destroy its data backup infrastructure.
On South Carolina’s Southeastern coast sits one of the state’s largest tourist attractions—the Charleston harbor. With oceanfront views, historic sites, and a plethora of outdoor activities, Charleston combines downtown living with country charm to draw in thousands of visitors each year from across the United States.
Sitting on 70 acres of prime harbor land is Porter-Gaud School, a non-profit college preparatory day school for pre-Ivy League students. It’s on this beautiful property that DuBose Egleston attended school years ago. He chose Porter-Gaud for its strong academic, athletic, and service programs; and he later returned to work as the campus IT Director at the school he had come to love.
“Our campus is not far above flood zone,” Egleston said. “A flood, fire, or hurricane can wipe out everything in a minute, so you can imagine the difficulty in trying to establish a stable data backup plan. We have to be ready for anything.”
For the bulk of the seven years Egleston served as IT director, the campus used tape-based backup to protect administrative files, faculty and student documents, and database files containing student and alumni contact information.
“The problem was figuring out what tape had the file I needed and then finding that tape in storage on the other side of campus,” Egleston said. “Once I had theright tape in hand and knew what file I was looking for, it only took about five minutes to restore the file.”
Even though the files were stored in a different building, Egleston knew he needed a better backup strategy to protect against major disasters like hurricanes. When Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, he and others in the area started reevaluating their disaster planning strategy.
“I started looking for an off-site backup solution,” Egleston said. “It was the only way I could make sure a hurricane or flood wouldn’t ruin our data. I talked with several companies who offered off-site data backup, but it was generally cost-prohibitive.” Porter-Gaud School partnered with a sister school located outside of a hurricane zone, so that in the event of a disaster, its calls and information could be forwarded. Egleston spoke with the sister school’s IT director about the possibility of building a data center at each end where the schools could back up. While the plan would theoretically provide off-site backup, Egleston knew it would require extensive maintenance and manpower.
“I didn’t think we had any other choice, but then a friend of mine mentioned online backup with MozyPro,” he said. “I read about it in The New York Times and realized MozyPro would cost us considerably less than it would to maintain a data center at another site. The headache of having to worry about whether or not our files were safe was gone the minute we signed up for MozyPro.”
With secondary copies of the school’s data thousands of miles away in a remote data center safe from hurricanes and other natural disasters, Egleston has more time to spend on other worthwhile projects, like his new role as assistant head of finance and operation. “I didn’t even put data backup in the new IT director’s job description,” he said. “MozyPro runs automatically, so he can focus on classroom technology and network stability while I focus on my new responsibilities.”
Egleston has configured MozyPro so that backups run at night when network traffic is low. Through the MozyPro Administrative Console, he can also quickly check on the status of the backups and restore files over the internet.
“Now I can restore files from the campus or at home, and best of all, I don’t have to physically get up and go anywhere,” he said. “I don’t spend hours searching through tapes hoping I find the right one.”
Such protection gives Egleston the confidence that when a hurricane or major disaster hits, Porter-Gaud School will be ready and protected. And although tape-based and off-site backup are generally expensive solutions, MozyPro delivers business-strength backup at consumer-friendly prices everyone can afford.
“As a non-profit, our bottom line is how successful our graduates are,” Egleston said. “We take our tuition dollars, donations, and grants and turn those around into programs for our students. MozyPro reduces our IT costs and allows us to invest more in our students’ futures.”