The University of Lausanne (UNIL) and Atempo: a strategic partnership for protecting petascale NAS
The University of Lausanne (UNIL) is home to 15,000 students and 5,000 academic and non-academic staff on a single campus on the banks of Lake Geneva. There are 7 faculties: medicine-biology/social sciences/literature/theology/life sciences/law/business studies (HEC). There are several petabytes of data stored in three data centers. Much of this data is generated by the medicine and biology faculties – for example DNA sequencing tests or the results of microscope samples which generate tens of millions of relatively small files.
"We have backed up our unstructured NAS data sets based on multi-OS sources while respecting ACLs. Thanks to ADA, our NFS and CIFS file systems are working in perfect harmony with S3-type storage"
Michel Ruffieux, UNIL
Life Insurance for Petascale Data
As early as 2015, UNIL sought to acquire a backup solution for their non-structured data stored on two replicated Isilon NAS. For Pascal Jacot-Guillarmod, Project Director on UNIL’s steering committee, this approach was “life insurance for our data”. UNIL was aware that an innovative solution was required and their approach in this project was typical of their keen interest in a myriad of emerging technologies such as hyperconvergence or pure flash storage.
With the exponential rise in data volumes and the increasing threat of ransomware and other cryptovirus, a simple replication between the two NAS was no longer enough to ensure data security. In the event of file and folder lockdown, the damage to a primary NAS can quickly spread via replication to the secondary NAS.
Going Beyond Traditional NDMP Backups
The existing backup solution relied on the NDMP protocol and full backups took several days and were showing obvious limits. The questions being asked were: What is the best spacing between two backups? How much data can fit into the defined backup window?
It was evident that a more flexible solution was required to handle stored volumes with more control and increased efficiency and security. UNIL chose Atempo’s Digital Archive solution (ADA).
There is no longer the obstacle of running a regular monthly full backup and Atempo manages the number of instances stored for each file. A full restoration is also possible in the event of a serious incident – even to a different storage type if the original storage is out of action.
It was crucial to not only back up over 500 TB of data initially but also manage multiple environment file systems and access control lists (ACLs).
|The solution was tested and installed to protect two Isilon NAS without using NDMP. UNIL can now back up their NAS data incrementally to the chosen S3-compatible object storage system: EMC’s ECS – Elastic Cloud Storage.|
The UNIL staff and students can today rely on rapid, reliable and efficient backup of their very large data sets. They also have a genuine option to extend this technology to cover future archiving requirements. UNIL currently manages 3 linear miles of paper archives with a dedicated staff of 10. Digitalizing and indexing this data will require a powerful tool capable of handling sophisticated archiving rules. ADA can handle such large-scale schemes and be part of one of the many project for the UNIL IT teams!