Last in the AL Central, First in Data Storage

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They traded away their pitching ace and finished in a tie for the fourth-worst record in Major League Baseball, but at least the Cleveland Indians have a new data storage and backup system to build their future on. And in an era of stats-crazed “Moneyball,” that may turn out to be a pretty good thing.

The Indians have deployed CommVault (NASDAQ: CVLT) Simpana software, a NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) FAS3050 array, an Overland (NASDAQ: OVRL) NEO 4000 and an Overland REO 9000 disk VTL to manage the team’s extensive state-of-the-art video system. This encompasses nearly 2,600 games played by all teams throughout the season.

“As a result, the Cleveland Indians were able to cut their backup window in half and file recovery went from 75 minutes to five minutes to retrieve a video clip,” said Mike Marchi, vice president of product and segment marketing at CommVault Systems.

The Indians didn’t begin storing video until 2004, and initially they put it directly on file servers before adding a Fibre Channel SAN with plans for three years of capacity. At the time, the organization used a 20-tape Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) Library for backup along with Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) BackupExec. Too much handholding of the backup infrastructure, lack of adequate reporting capabilities and occasional failures to complete nightly backups led to a search for a better platform.

The new system had to be capable of keeping up with the demand to back up close to 15 games per night (each game averaging about three hours) during a seven-month period. As games happen each and every day, backup failures were not an option, and delays could not be tolerated if every game was to be recorded and available for playback. With such demanding requirements, the organization investigated a disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) solution as a way of accelerating backup and recovery.

The Cleveland team decided on an upgrade from a small Dell Library to an Overland NEO 4000 tape library and an Overland REO 9000 Disk virtual tape library (VTL). The NEO 4000 provided more than 30 LTO-3 tapes and two drives, and the REO 9000 VTL has up to 44 TBs of capacity.

“They were running into some capacity constraints with the Dell library, which led them to step up to an Overland NEO 4000,” said Marchi.

On the backup software side, the team installed CommVault in 2005, and then migrated to CommVault Simpana in 2008 as part of a server refresh. This moved the organization to a 64-bit architecture. A NetApp disk array was also purchased.

According to Whitney Kuszmaul, network manager for the Cleveland Indians, CommVault Simpana was selected partly due to its ability to integrate well with the rest of the Overland and NetApp gear.

“The CommVault Simpana architecture offered a future-proof solution that could scale to meet our data storage growth demands while making it easy to add more functionality as our needs dictated,” said Kuszmaul. “Further, the vendor-neutral stance allowed us to avoid vendor lock-in.”

The Indians now store more than 18 TB of online video and operational data across a virtualized infrastructure. This makes it possible to review or analyze any of 2,600 games throughout the season. This made the Indians one of the first MLB teams to develop such a system, and it has resulted in a reputation that the team is one of the most technically advanced MLB clubs.

Kuszmaul reports a wide range of gains. The backup window has been cut in half. Restores, which used to take more than an hour for one clip, now take less than five minutes. With improved application performance, administrative overhead has been cut down from 45 minutes a day to less than 30 minutes a week.

“Tight integration with NetApp saves us a ton of time and money while cutting our backup window in half,” said Kusmaul. “It is much easier to manage the backup to our NEO library.”

Satisfied with how its backup and data management software is performing, the Indians have made plans to purchase additional functionality from CommVault, such as deduplication and replication software. This will help support remote disaster recovery capabilities for the team’s spring training facility in Goodyear, Arizona.

Article courtesy of Enterprise IT Planet

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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