With hardware aging out and their existing co-location agreement up for renewal, Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina decided to migrate their backup, archive, and disaster recovery data to the cloud. Catawba, ranked fourth among the best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report, originally went with one of the leading cloud service providers. However, the college quickly became annoyed with all the extra transaction fees, and overall costs that were higher than they expected. That’s when they turned to Wasabi.
Aging Hardware Drives Search for Affordable Cloud Storage
“The idea of moving storage costs from Capex to Opex was very attractive to us,” says Shawn Moore, Deputy CIO & Enterprise Systems Architect at Catawba College, explaining their decision not to invest in additional hardware or renew their colocation agreement. “We went with one of the well-known cloud providers, and we didn’t have any trouble with them. It just seemed quite expensive for what we were trying to do.”
Every cloud storage provider charges for the bandwidth used to get data back, which is understandable. What Moore objected to were the subtle transaction fees for API calls charged by all major incumbent vendors. “These fees look small, but they add up,” explains Moore. “Suppose you had a huge file that needed to be split up and then recombined. They would charge you to list all the parts of the files, versions, buckets, authorizations…all sorts of things.” What bothered Moore most was how these fees interfered with his preferred method of verifying his data. “Unless you want to throw your data up there and trust that it all got there, validating got to be expensive,” says Moore. “I love to call back the metadata to verify that file names and file sizes match, but I hated being nickel-and-dimed on every transaction.”
Solution: Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage with No Hidden Fees
Moore first learned about Wasabi through Arq®, the encrypted backup software he used for his personal data, which listed Wasabi as a supported storage backend. “We looked at a few leading providers and many lesser known ones,” says Moore. “Wasabi was the only company we could find that didn’t have all these transaction fees, and their overall pricing was as low or lower than anything out there.”
Catawba archives point-in-time backups that they need to store for years, so Moore was especially impressed with Wasabi’s policy of reading and checking the integrity of all stored objects every 90 days. “I also like their unique approach to data immutability,” says Moore. “We’re not using it yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there.” Schools and colleges can also rely on Wasabi hot cloud storage to store and maintain electronic student education records in accordance with the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations for data security, protection, and privacy.
Results: Substantial Savings and Ability to Store More Data Longer
Another type of data that Catawba College would like to hold longer is security video. “Our on-campus video storage isn’t part of any capital budget, so it’s pieced together using older hardware,” says Moore. Tier 1 storage was limited to about two weeks, so prior to Wasabi, footage had to be discarded beyond that. If something on campus disappeared or was damaged, and it took more than two weeks for anyone to notice, the footage required to identify the culprit was gone. “Switching to Wasabi has drastically reduced our archiving and disaster recovery costs,” says Moore. “We can save more video footage for longer periods of time and use the funds we save for other improvements on campus.”
What’s Next for Catawba College?
Their small team is developing a web portal that enables security personnel to pull up available surveillance video footage stored on campus by building and camera location. “Once we archive this footage to Wasabi, we update the metadata in the portal,” says Moore. Eventually, the college plans to link the portal to Wasabi via API so staff can instantly view a video that’s aged out of their on-campus storage. “With competitive cold storage options, if you want your data you have to wait for it. It’s cheap, but it’s also very complicated and tedious to work with,” explains Moore. “Wasabi isn’t like that—it’s fast but very affordable—like paying for cold storage but getting all the benefits of hot cloud storage.”