Ivy League University Saves Big on Storage Costs with Wasabi

June 7, 2023By Carson Barcome

With a bustling campus, this Ivy League University has many departments generating vast amounts of data to manage. From academic research to video archives and historical preservation collections, the university has no shortage of content and data to be stored.

On-premises storage not built to scale archives 

Previously, the university used tape for archive storage. Steve DeGroat, the university’s Manager of Enterprise Storage, opted to try cloud storage as an archive solution to avoid purchasing additional on-premises storage units in the future. “We decided we couldn’t keep refreshing tape environments because it gets too expensive and time-consuming to change LTO models every four or five years,” said DeGroat. To scale its archives, the university needed to find a cost-effective storage solution.

Hyperscaler costs prevented scalable cloud storage solutions

Originally, the university began storing data in an AWS S3 cloud but quickly realized Amazon’s high costs were not ideal. DeGroat detailed the painstaking process of transferring files from tape into a hyperscaler’s cloud storage tier. “To go into AWS Deep Archive, you have to leave your data in an S3 tiering bucket at a higher rate for some period of time before it moves into lower cost Deep Archive. Every file moving from that S3 bucket to Deep Archive comes with a fee. A department might have to condense 200 or 300 terabytes of data to as few files as possible just to move it over.” In addition to an expensive transfer process, DeGroat shared the extent of AWS’s services fees. “Amazon charges for every handle operation, which adds up quickly, especially when you work with as many files as we do.” For the university’s infrastructure to work effectively, they needed a cloud storage solution with a reasonable pricing model that didn’t include extra handling fees.

Wasabi+Komprise reduces on-prem storage burden

Today, the university runs an archive solution consisting of Netapp, Komprise, and Wasabi cloud object storage. The university writes data to NetApp on the front end and uses the data management system Komprise to push data to Wasabi and free up the university’s on-premises servers. “Wasabi is a backup target for basically any data within the university,” explained DeGroat. “Departments can utilize a bucket to archive whatever they want with read/write capabilities.”

With Wasabi, we pay one-quarter of what we used to because there’s one flat rate for everything; there are no ingress or egress charges to access our data. Wasabi does one thing and does it well: best-of-breed cloud storage.”

— Steve DeGroat, Manager of Enterprise Storage at Ivy League University

Veritas+Wasabi provide an efficient backup solution

Once their archive solution proved successful, the university began using Wasabi with Veritas NetBackup to store backups of their administrative applications. In this solution, Veritas NetBackup ingests data into a Veritas appliance, which then compresses and encrypts backups into Wasabi. “At first, we were storing appliance backups in Amazon because our solution only wrote to Amazon,” said DeGroat, “Now that Veritas allows customers to write data to their preferred cloud storage service, we also started storing our administrative backups in Wasabi.” For additional performance, the university deployed Wasabi Direct Connect, a private 10G connection to send data from on-premises units directly to their Wasabi cloud. “We used to ride our bandwidth from campus to a port connection, then to a cloud exchange, and then to Wasabi,” said DeGroat, “now we use Wasabi’s direct connection, and everything is moving faster.”

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Wasabi Account Control Manager emphasizes security and responsibility

In addition to building a cloud repository for their archive, DeGroat and the team also use Wasabi Account Control Manager to manage storage buckets for individual departments. With Wasabi Account Control Manager, individual departments maintain their own storage space while DeGroat’s team has oversight into each bucket, accessing information such as active and deleted storage, number of API requests, and the amount of data egressed. Most importantly, the IT team has full visibility into security and compliance standards. “Wasabi Account Control Manager allows us to maintain responsibility and emphasize the importance of data security. I can see exactly how much storage each account uses within the account manager,” said DeGroat. “Since it’s the university’s data, we can put guardrails up to ensure everyone follows proper security procedures. They can run their own space, and we can help them maintain it.” DeGroat shared that implementing the Wasabi Account Control Manager was painless. “Setting up the buckets is a straight pass-through; we point them at Wasabi’s instruction guides and send them on their way. At the end of the month, I look up how much storage they’re using and charge them through a full chargeback model.”

Wasabi’s ‘best of breed’ storage is led by predictable pricing

With their hybrid solution fully deployed, DeGroat and his team no longer worry about operation handling fees or expensive transfer processes to store their data.  “You can’t shut off data storage in the cloud like you can compute instances. When you put data into the cloud, it has mass –  you pay for it daily, hourly, and by the minute,” said DeGroat, “you hope that your cloud provider wouldn’t nickel and dime you.” DeGroat considers cost-effectiveness and simple pricing as the two of the most significant benefits of Wasabi. “With Wasabi, we pay one-quarter of what we used to because there’s one flat rate for everything; there are no ingress or egress charges to access our data. Wasabi does one thing and does it well: best-of-breed cloud storage.”

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