CASE STUDY

Veeam+Wasabi’s Seamless Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Ensures Cost-effective Data Immutability for Clarke University

October 2, 2023By Carson Barcome

In the heart of Dubuque, Iowa, just a few miles off of the Mississippi River sits Clarke University, a non-profit Catholic university educating close to 1,000 students with around 250 staff and faculty. Founded in 1843 by The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the university started as an all-female college sworn to the religious community’s vows, which includes a vow of poverty. Today, Clarke University is a co-ed institution that continues to operate with cost-effective measures to maintain its founding vows.

Immutable storage key to hybrid backup strategy

In 2016, Clarke University chose to modernize its backup strategy by deploying a virtual machine (VM) solution with Veeam. The university created a 3-2-1 backup strategy with Veeam, sending data to a primary SAN located in its main data center, as well as a secondary data center on the opposite side of campus. For disaster recovery, Clarke University runs a fiber cable directly to their partner campus, Loras College. In order to complete their backup strategy, the university searched for an immutable location to store their information instead of strictly relying on tape storage. “We didn’t have any immutable backups,” explained Kyle Begle, Network Administrator for Clarke University. “In the event that the whole campus infrastructure collapses one day, what are we going to do? The answer is cloud storage.”

Wasabi paves the way toward cost-effective cloud storage

While immutability was a high-priority concern, Begle shared the importance of finding cost-effective storage to fit within the university’s non-profit vows. “We started with Unitrends. We didn’t love the cost, but we also wanted something simpler to use. We looked at regular old AWS S3, and the price range was seven figures just for usage data.” Alongside Amazon’s data usage fees, users are charged for data egress and API request, “When we’re sending backups to our VMs in the cloud, that’s a lot of fees for back-and-forth traffic.” By searching through Veeam’s technology alliance partnerships, Clarke University found Wasabi, a secure and high-performant cloud storage provider at a cost-effective price.

Veeam and Wasabi integrate seamlessly into a high-performance hybrid solution

Clarke University now fully stores its secondary backups via the Veeam and Wasabi cloud solution. “Our entire infrastructure is backed up with Wasabi, and those backups contain absolutely everything about our environment,” shared Begle. “It performs literally like, ‘set it and forget it.’” Transitioning data on-premises into a hybrid framework can be a stymieing process for any IT team. However, for Begle and his team, backing up their data to Wasabi with Veeam was simple. “Veeam works amazing, I don’t have to worry about it. On top of that, Wasabi integrated so easily with Veeam that it was unreal. It took less than two hours to set up Wasabi with Veeam and start sending our backups to the cloud. Wasabi doesn’t operate like a standalone product. For us, Wasabi works as an integrated partner to Veeam, which is something we appreciate.”

The Veeam to Wasabi integration works flawlessly. Wasabi doesn’t operate like a standalone product. For us, Wasabi works as an integrated partner to Veeam, which is something we appreciate.”

– Kyle Begle, Network Administrator at Clarke University

Data immutability enables a secure disaster recovery strategy

To address Clarke University’s top priorities, which are ensuring protection and prevention of data loss from disaster or ransomware attacks, Begle and team deploy immutability features from both Veeam and Wasabi. ”We use both Veeam’s and Wasabi’s immutability,” said Begle “they’re perfect to prevent any sort of ransomware attack. We have a 365-day setting where those backups can’t be touched or deleted for a full year.” Although Clarke University has off-site backups and SANs in multiple buildings on campus, Wasabi and Veeam offer a simple, streamlined solution to restore their data should their network go down. “Thankfully, we haven’t had a disaster where we needed to restore from Wasabi, but it’s our ideal backup in case of that instance,” said Begle.

Upholding Clarke University’s vows without sacrificing performance

The IT team had Clarke University’s founding vows of poverty in mind when choosing Wasabi. Begle explained the significance of deploying highly performant, secure cloud storage without abandoning their cost-conscious founding principles “With ransomware so prevalent, you need to make sure your infrastructure is fully backed up because attackers are relying on you being lazy about things. Wasabi’s price was low enough that we could back up our infrastructure with our operational budget and now we don’t have to jump through hoops to make a capital request. Amazon’s fees for egress were a huge sticking point for us, Wasabi’s flat rate with no additional fees for egress or API calls was very appealing. They don’t charge for how much data is being sent back and forth; I’m not kidding when I say the price of Wasabi came in at ten times less than any other competitor.”

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