CASE STUDY

James Cook University Scales to the Cloud with Wasabi and Gains Resiliency—at a Cost 5x Lower Than Competitors

June 24, 2024By Carson Barcome

Located in Queensland, Australia, James Cook University (JCU) is a public higher education institution with primary campuses in Townsville, Cairns, Brisbane, and Singapore, as well as other campuses across the region. JCU is ranked among the top two per cent of the world’s universities and is known for its world-leading research in a wide range of disciplines including marine biology, environmental science and management, and tropical health and medicine.

When the University’s online backup storage system reached end of life and ran low on capacity, the Technology Solutions team, which included Principal Systems Engineer Vinu Thomas, began looking for a cloud storage solution.

Need for Greater Capacity at Lower Cost—Plus Easy Integration with Existing Backup Tools

One of the primary reasons JCU wanted cloud-based storage was because it needed scalability. “We didn’t want to be limited by the size of it,” said Thomas. The solution would also need to integrate seamlessly with Veeam, the university’s current backup system.

Additionally, the solution would need to perform as a secondary backup location that was far enough away from JCU’s headquarters in Townsville to avoid potential damage from cyclones. The University’s current secondary storage location was only 400 km from Townsville and Thomas knew that wasn’t far enough away to be safe.

Final additions to the list of requirements for the new solution included cost-effectiveness and resiliency. “Backup data is one of the most important types of data,” said Thomas. “If you don’t have backups, you don’t have a plan B.”

Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage Checks the Boxes That Matter Most

Thomas and his team discovered Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage through their relationship with ASI Solutions. “We looked at a few options,” said Thomas, “and Wasabi checked quite a few boxes more than the other providers.” After a testing period, JCU finalized the deal with Wasabi.  

What attracted JCU to Wasabi the most was that Wasabi doesn’t charge for egress and API calls. Thomas said, “When we compared Wasabi with other providers side by side for the same workload, the cost difference was five times less. Wasabi was the clear winner.” 

Scalability, site location, cost effectiveness, integration, and resilience. Those are the major benefits of using Wasabi.

– Vinu Thomas, Principal Systems Engineer, James Cook University

Using Wasabi with Veeam means “plug and play” simplicity, according to Thomas, because it has native integration with the popular backup solution. “It works out of the box and is fully supported. If something doesn’t work, we can call on Veeam or Wasabi support and they work well together.”

With Wasabi Reserved Capacity Storage, JCU can prepay for storage and avoid the price fluctuations over the course of the storage period. Wasabi also met the University’s need for a backup location that was far enough away from the Townsville data center. If a cyclone causes a power outage or damages data stored on-premises at Townsville, the backup in the Wasabi’s Sydney storage region 2,000 km away can still quickly restore what’s lost and keep operations running, all with no extra fees for retrieving the data.

Increased Flexibility, Greater Resilience, Longer Data Retention

Thomas said JCU likes the Wasabi solution because it offers easy integration with Veeam, excellent scalability and capacity, significant cost savings over other cloud solutions, and the resiliency the University needs to protect its critical data.

JCU initially used Wasabi as a secondary offsite storage location for its corporate virtual machines, which came to about 500 TB. After seeing how well the solution worked for corporate data, the team has now begun backing up 500 TB of research data, which is based on network file sharing (NFS) for home drives and other shared group data, giving it a total footprint of 1 PB of backup data.

With no extra fees for API calls, Thomas said the cost savings are a real benefit. He explained that Veeam breaks workloads into small chunks and each chunk is considered an API call. “It is 1 megabyte per chunk,” said Thomas, “and how many megabytes would there be in 1 petabyte? Do the math and that’s how many API calls we might have.” With other cloud providers, each one of those calls would incur a fee. With Wasabi, there’s no charge.

JCU can now retain important data for longer periods of time, thanks to Wasabi’s cost-effective scalability. “Because object storage in the public cloud is virtually unlimited, we’re no longer limited by the physical storage unit capacity,” said Thomas, “and we can keep backups for longer and add more workloads to it.”

Wasabi delivered the important features and capabilities JCU needed. Thomas summed it up: “Scalability, site location, cost-effectiveness, integration, and resilience. Those are the major benefits of using Wasabi.”

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