IUT de Valence needed a cost-effective and reliable solution for the backup and recovery of its virtualized servers.
Managing a Complex Technological Environment
IUT’s Information Technology (IT) department develops, secures, and maintains multiple student-facing applications (personal storage space, email addresses, an intranet, and a web sharing platform) as well as various internal management applications (administration, human resources, and tests and scores). With five staff members, the department supervises a complex technology environment comprising over 450 onsite computers, 15 servers, 15 switches, and numerous personal laptops and devices brought on campus.
David Chechat, IT technician at IUT, decided in 2010 that a completely physical server environment could pose some integrity and reliability risks in the long term. Virtualizing the system would not only secure data, reduce physical space, and increase efficiency and flexibility, it would also maximize the returns on hardware investment.
By using programs such as VMware ESXi, it would be possible for multiple applications and operating systems to be hosted on a single physical server, multiplying computing and storage capabilities at a low cost. However, virtualizing its infrastructure presented IUT with new technical and cost challenges.
“We started by virtualizing three servers with VMware ESXi, a move that allowed us to deliver fast and continuous services that fit users’ varying needs,” says Chechat. “But we ran into difficulties when our VMs needed moving, replicating, and backing up. It quickly became clear that our homemade solutions were actually time-consuming, costly, and exposed us to errors, bugs, and glitches. We needed the support of an expert solution.”