Maricopa upgrades storage

Maricopa County Office of the Chief Information Officer

Marty Scott used to worry about the problems he had backing up data for several Maricopa County, Ariz., agencies.

"We were suffering numerous backup job failures," said the manager of the Network Solutions Group, part of the county's Office of the Chief Information Officer. "And when you suffer failures on your backup jobs you don't sleep well the next night."

Especially because his group was responsible for data storage for several major county departments, including transportation, emergency management, equipment services and the telecommunications and wireless division that supported the county radio network for first responders.

Although it never reached a point that agencies couldn't retrieve data, Scott viewed the problems as frequent and catastrophic. So, about two years ago, his group began looking for an alternative to Veritas Software Corp.'s Backup Exec, which the group was using. He said the county couldn't afford the company's more advanced data protection solution, which had a steeper learning curve.

After evaluating several products, the group settled on CommVault Systems Inc.'s Galaxy software, which the county could afford. Scott said the software's methodologies, policies and set up procedures were easier to understand.

At a cost of $12,000 to $15,000, the county implemented the software a year ago with minor glitches. Backup time fell from about 48 hours to less than 12 hours.

The infrastructure consists of more than 60 Hewlett-Packard Co./Compaq Window servers. All servers are backed up to two Compaq libraries each with four tape drives and 50 media slots over a gigabit Ethernet backbone.

Scott said he plans to implement the company's hierarchical storage management component, which is a "method of migrating least used data based upon a defined rule set to different types of media." Because it sets rules based on time and a file's last access, it's a more efficient way of managing and storing files, Scott said.

He's talking with colleagues in other agencies about possibly implementing the Galaxy software countywide. Maricopa government is highly decentralized when it comes to information technology, and agencies use different products for backup storage, he said, adding one solution could streamline county costs.

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