Unified, User-Friendly Backup

An advanced technology community for higher ed streamlines its endpoint backup efforts into a single, cross-platform solution for powerful results.

Internet2® is a member-owned, advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve common technology challenges and develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research and community service missions.

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Previously, in order for Internet2’s three-member IT team to manage endpoint backup across all of its devices and platforms, the organization relied on a combination of Connected® Backup for endpoint laptops and desktops; IBM Tivoli for Windows servers; and BackupPC for Linux devices. Managing all three platforms—as well as creating hard copies of server data to ship offsite—required the majority of the staff’s time and resources. The need for a single, cross-platform, enterprise-grade endpoint backup solution became obvious.

Critical Needs

  • A single, cross-platform endpoint backup solution
  • Integration with Shibboleth secure authentication
  • Ease of administration through a unified management console
  • User-friendly installation for deployment directly by remote end users
  • Built-in scalability to quickly grow with the organization

How It Works

Internet2 sought a unified, cross-platform endpoint backup solution to replace its existing combination of Connected Backup, IBM Tivoli and BackupPC. The non-profit needed to protect 12 Windows servers and 150 Linux servers, along with 90 laptops and desktops located throughout the U.S.

At the same time the IT team was searching for a solution to its backup dilemma, Internet2 was validating Code42’s CrashPlan enterprise endpoint backup solution for possible inclusion in its Internet2 NET+ initiative. NET+ provides network services to university and research organization members, helping to solve their technology challenges in a cost-effective, streamlined and expedited manner. Member universities who participated in the NET+ validation process include: Arizona State University, Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford University, University of Notre Dame, University of Texas and University of Washington.

It quickly became apparent CrashPlan was not only an excellent addition to NET+ but also could fill Internet2’s own need for enterprise endpoint backup.

“As CrashPlan became a NET+ service provider, we took note of its enterprise endpoint backup capabilities and its ability to scale to meet university-level data needs,” said Jeff Hagley, system administrator for Internet2.

Several of Internet2’s staff members also cited great personal experiences using CrashPlan at home; they were already familiar with the technology’s reliability and ease of use.

“I can confidently say it’s pretty smooth. I don’t have to worry about whether the backups are happening,” said Todd Sedmak, PR and media relations manager for Internet2. “I have peace of mind that things are backed up consistently. If I want to, I can easily open CrashPlan and see that the next backup is in a few minutes.”

“When I found out Code42 runs CrashPlan in its own data centers for its public cloud, it really made us feel even more confident about the product,” Hagley said. “If something catastrophic happened to our data center, we are confident all our data is in the cloud, and we’d be able to restore from there. At that point, it was a no-brainer for us to move forward with CrashPlan.”

Internet2 launched CrashPlan using a public cloud deployment strategy. The organization is confident its data is secure and meets industry compliance standards because CrashPlan’s multilayered security approach encrypts data from end to end—from the device through a secure communications channel to multiple storage destinations.

The cost savings result from the substantial decrease in staff time needed to manage the data, particularly in how we used to offsite our server backups. It’s automatic now. No one is tasked with making copies of data. And it’s cheaper because we have one tool for everything.
Jeff Hagley, System Administrator for Internet2

CrashPlan was deployed across all of the organization’s devices within two weeks. Since deployment, the staff time and resources devoted to endpoint backup and server management have decreased significantly.

“The cost savings result from the substantial decrease in staff time needed to manage the data, particularly in how we used to offsite our server backups,” Hagley said. “It’s automatic now. No one is tasked with making copies of data. And it’s cheaper because we have one tool for everything.”

Securing Advanced Network Opportunities

In addition to specific endpoint backup needs, Internet2 previously had difficulty finding a solution that would provide secure, controlled access to data via integration with the organization’s Shibboleth open-source, identity-based authentication system.

“We needed to make sure we maintained full control of our encryption keys from a security perspective,” Hagley explained. “The fact that CrashPlan already offered a Shibboleth integration—without our having to ask for it—was really nice to see. The ability to use Shibboleth to authenticate CrashPlan users is incredibly beneficial. That was something we looked for, and we applaud CrashPlan for having that capability. It was definitely one of the most important features to us.”

CrashPlan’s scalability also impressed the Internet2 team. With Internet2 member-campuses quickly rolling out CrashPlan across thousands of end users at universities—including Arizona State University, The Ohio State University and University of Texas—the product’s tremendous scale and elasticity were already proven.

“As far as scalability goes, there is no doubt in my mind we will continue to add both servers and laptops to this environment,” Hagley said.

As an innovative, global technology community, Internet2 keeps its eye on future opportunities. With CrashPlan’s reporting capabilities, the organization gets information and insights for future planning unavailable with previous solutions.

“As we review the data that’s now available, I’m sure we’ll do some interesting things as we identify trends,” Hagley said. “It’s great to have access to all of that actionable information.”

CrashPlan’s Business Value