Data Growth and Disaster Concerns in Higher Education

Higher education faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to storing, protecting and providing access to files. Within a contemporary university or graduate school, IT is tasked with serving thousands or even tens of thousands of users spread across multiple buildings and campuses. As one graduating class departs each year, a new crop of students arrives, but this turnover does not apply to storage. Older projects are not necessarily deleted to make room for new and more data intensive research projects. The files associated with academic projects must be retained, and often for long periods.

The size and volume of files generated by academics, students and administrative faculty continues to grow. More academic projects involve the production and editing of massive video and movie files. The steady growth of administrative records only adds to a school’s ever-expanding data burden. Storing and providing access to these files is only one piece of the challenge. IT also has to ensure that academic files and administrative data will be secure, protected and available in the case of a disaster. Given the number of users, and the large volumes of data at play, this has become increasingly difficult and expensive to achieve using traditional solutions. Backups are time-consuming, painful and inefficient, as IT struggles to push more and more data through limited backup windows. Restores are equally problematic. One of our clients had to outsource student and faculty requests for file restores, and even then users might not regain access for days.

Higher education is uniquely familiar with bold ideas and innovation, but when it comes to file storage, the space has been held back by traditional solutions that are complex, expensive and fundamentally flawed.

An Innovative Solution to Higher Education’s Storage Challenges

Nasuni combines the capacity and reliability of the cloud with the local performance and security of on-site storage. Delivering a cost-effective and scalable way to store and protect files is only one piece of the Nasuni solution. The IT departments within our higher education clients also have more control over their entire storage environment, across all departments and user bases, than ever before.

In higher education, IT is expected to deliver enterprise-grade file storage, access and protection, but often with a limited staff and budget. Nasuni was designed to save organizations money and time, whether they are globally distributed enterprises or leading graduate schools. Compared to traditional storage, our clients typically save 40-60%.

“We want to know that our data is safe. We want to know that it’s secure. We want to know that if we need to restore something, we can do that. Beyond that, I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time on it. And with Nasuni, I don’t have to. It just works.” – Shawn Umansky, Network Engineer, St. Michael’s College.


Featured Customer Story:
Saint Michael’s College

Unlimited File Storage – Nasuni caches active files locally while pushing the bulk of data off expensive, local machines and into cost-effective cloud storage. Graduate schools, colleges and universities no longer have to expand their storage footprints and purchase excess capacity to account for future data growth. With Nasuni, capacity scales on-demand in the cloud, so our clients only pay for the storage they actually use.

Automatic Protection – Nasuni frequently pushes snapshots of file data to the cloud, ensuring that a complete file history is securely stored in multiple geographic locations. There is no limit to the history or number of snapshots, and files can be recovered in minutes in the case of business disruption or equipment failure.

Enhanced IT Control – With the Nasuni Management Console, IT works through a single pane of glass, enabling uniform policies for backup, user access and security across the entire storage infrastructure. Students, professors and administrators no longer have to wait hours or days for a lost file. IT can easily restore or recover files with a few simple clicks.

Strong Security – Academic research projects often come with strict security regulations – especially those backed by government funding – and Nasuni meets these requirements. Before being sent to the cloud, data is encrypted using military grade AES-256 encryption. The encryption key is generated and controlled by the university, so data is never available in any way to the cloud provider or Nasuni.

 Unlimited Retention – As students graduate and older projects are pushed aside in favor of new ones, old files can accumulate and take up needed space on local hardware. Nasuni allows academic institutions to securely and cost-effectively retain old or infrequently accessed files by pushing this data off expensive local machines and into the cloud. To the end users, though, this data will still be easily accessible and appear to live in the same place in their directories.

Reduced Cost and Complexity – Thanks to advanced caching algorithms, Nasuni eliminates the need to store cold data on expensive local hardware while still keeping active data on-premises for fast access. The elimination of expensive backup and disaster recovery systems saves bandwidth and money while reducing IT complexity and hours. Overall, our clients see file data storage TCO savings of 40%-65%.

Protecting Academic Data Through Secure, Unlimited Storage

As new students arrive each year, and academics launch new and more data-intensive projects, the size and volume of files within universities, colleges and graduate schools will continue to grow. This data needs to be accessible, secure and protected in a way that is easy to manage. Nasuni delivers a cost-effective solution to file growth that protects academic data, maintains performance and empowers IT with unprecedented control over the entire storage environment.

For more details on how Nasuni can help your institution, watch this video case study on Saint Michael’s College, two of our long-term clients in higher education.


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