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Data Backup Support For UK Music Academy

Barracuda Networks : 22 June, 2011  (Application Story)
Barracuda will provide storage and backup support for disaster recovery capabilities in support of critical media and audio content for the Academy of Contemporary Music based in England
Data Backup Support For UK Music Academy
The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) has selected the Barracuda Backup Service to house and store its media, audio and video content, as well as provide disaster recovery functionality for all critical data. 


ACM, located in Surrey, England, has been a world leader in music education for more than 15 years, providing students with a range of full and part time courses in guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards, music production, creative sound design, tour production and management and music business. ACM now has schools in South Africa, Europe and USA. With more than 1,200 full time students in the UK alone, the school produces large volumes of music and video files all of which need to be stored.


Prior to the Barracuda Backup Service, all data was stored via tape drives, which were attached to individual servers. This process presented challenges to ACM as it did not have adequate staff resources or IT capabilities available to support the volumes of data being produced within the school.


“The music industry has changed so much since we first opened ACM,” said Simon Mallindine, IT manager at ACM. “The volumes of data being produced daily were incredible and as we grew in size so did the volume of data. We simply didn’t have the infrastructure in place to cope. We compared the cost of using tape versus purchasing the Barracuda Backup Service and found that over a three-year period the Barracuda Backup Service is one-third the price of backing up data to tape.”


With so many students attending the UK school, access to data on a 24x7 basis is critical so, with this in mind, information is regularly updated and added to the servers.


In the event of failure or loss of data, the school needed total reassurance that not only could information be retrieved, it could be done so in a timely manner with minimal impact to the students.  


“Within ACM we create massive amounts of data on a daily basis,” said Mallindine. “The type of data we produce are the student’s thoughts and inspirations, this is not always easy to recreate if lost. Therefore we need total confidence in not only our IT infrastructure but also the technical support we receive - through Barracuda Networks, we have this.


“The technical support we continue to receive has hugely exceeded our expectations,” continued Mallindine.” In the event of technical issues arising we have been able to speak to a Barracuda Networks engineer directly who has been able to dial into our system, with minimal impact to our IT infrastructure and fix any problems within a 72-hour period, and all that’s needed is one phone call. Support like this is truly amazing and gives us such confidence from an IT perspective.”


In addition ACM, has conducted disaster recovery tests, whereby all critical data was wiped from the database and restored all within a nine-hour period. For Mallindine, this was critical to the success of the project.


“If we lose data at 6 p.m. we can have all our critical data back and be fully operational, even with the images for our servers, before the doors open for teaching the following morning,” said Mallindine. “We can’t emphasize how impressed we’ve been and we plan to roll out Barracuda Networks technology in each of our franchises over the next few years and we’ll manage this centrally. We won’t need to get on a plane or have local IT support in place, we can essentially use Barracuda Networks’ local IT engineer to deliver an excellent product to our franchises, as well as excellent service and support, that’s the sort of company we like to work with.”


With the Barracuda Backup Service, ACM can safely maintain backed up data using efficient replication techniques designed to conserve bandwidth and minimise the cost of disaster recovery.


“While traditional disk-to-data snapshot technology eliminates the complexity of restoring full and incremental backups, it often carries a large price tag due to the associated storage requirements,” said Guy Suter, director of product management for Barracuda Networks. “The Barracuda Backup Service represents the best possible scenario in that it delivers the convenience of snapshots without the storage overhead.”
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