City Government Streamlines Backup Administration, Retention and Compliance Management With Unitrends Unified BCDR
What stands out to me is that I don’t have to babysit the system. Unitrends has been so easy to administrate, and I’m never worried the backups aren’t going to run — the consistency of Unitrends has been great. Jason Reitz
Unitrends Solution for City of Fort Lupton, Colo.
- Virtual server environment
- Hosted email
- Emergency services RMS system
Unitrends Backup Virtual Appliance(s)
- Full protection of virtual environment and mission-critical applications
- Instant recovery of virtual environment
- Long-term data retention
- Off-site retention
- Storage optimization (7:1 data reduction ratio on appliance)
For more than 12 years, Travis Aksamitowski has served as Fort Lupton’s information technology director. He supports the majority of the city’s IT functions while also executing staffing, budgeting and other needs of the department. Throughout his time with the city, Aksamitowski has come to value the close-knit community in Fort Lupton.
“The city’s staff here is awesome to work with,” Aksamitowski explains. “They support our IT department well. The first few years I was here, it was just me. Our users have been very patient with our small team, as we get a lot of requests that come in.”
After four years as the sole IT resource, Aksamitowski looked to expand his team. Systems Administrator Jason Reitz came onboard to help maintain the network environment, servers and end users as well as backup and recovery. They, along with Service Desk Admin Brock Guiterrez, support IT functions for the entire city.
We support a combination of in-office, work from home and remote users for the city, including Emergency Services and the police department — we really run the gambit from remote to on-site users.”
The city’s IT infrastructure is primarily virtualized. Aksamitowski’s team supports several virtual hosts that are responsible for running mission-critical workloads including email, financial systems and an emergency Records Management Software (RMS) solution.
In 2019, the city’s previous backup and disaster recovery vendor was acquired by another company. Aksamitowski noticed the price for their renewal was increasing dramatically, while usability and support had stagnated, if not declined.
“We were ready to be done with it,” Aksamitowski recalls. “The system wasn’t user friendly by any means, and so we started looking. That’s when we found Unitrends.”
The city deployed a Unitrends Recovery Series backup appliance paired with Unitrends Forever Cloud for long-term, off-site retention in the summer of 2019.
The combination of Unitrends’ appliance and cloud retention has helped them streamline day-to-day operations while ensuring the city is able to meet recovery, retention and compliance requirements.
“Our retention varies depending on the servers,” explains Systems Administrator Jason Reitz. “In general, we’re storing data for about three years. Some things, like with the police department, we have to retain certain data indefinitely, so we do have data we’re keeping longer than that. We push everything we back up into the Unitrends Cloud for retention and for our off-site backups.”
In addition to replicating backup copies to Unitrends cloud, the city aims to keep three years of retention for their backups on the local appliance where it is immediately available for recovery.
“One of the things that stood out for us is the appliance’s use of data deduplication. That’s high on our list, as far as the capabilities of the appliance, how much data we’re able to store on that device. After deduplication, we’re storing about 14TBs.”
Reitz goes on to explain the 14TB footprint is after inline global deduplication and compression, which has resulted in a data reduction ratio of approximately 7:1.
Beyond optimizing their storage utilization, the city has found Unitrends to be a reliable and consistent data protection solution.
“What stands out to me is that I don’t have to babysit the system,” says Reitz. “Unlike our previous vendor, and other experiences I’ve had with vendors over the years, Unitrends is so much easier to administrate. I don’t worry that backups aren’t going to work — they just run.”
“The speed of the backups has been really helpful,” Reitz continues. “The ease of use of the product and Unitrends’ ability to restore backups in a straightforward manner has made my life easier.”
“We’ve had users delete files and not think much of it, until a couple months after the fact they realize they don’t have what they need. Each time, I’ve been able to go into Unitrends, pull an image and restore the file. Unitrends has made it quick and easy to do that. Even running my first restores, the interface was easy to figure out and I was able to complete recoveries in a timely manner.”
Reitz often leverages Unitrends’ granular recovery capabilities to sift through their retention and find specific files.
“Indexed search has been helpful over time — going through backups, verifying files are there — that’s been one of the features I’ve used the most.”
“Reporting has been very nice, too,” he continues. “There’s a ton of reports you can pull from Unitrends, but the one I look at regularly is the Data Usage over time. I keep an eye on how much our storage is growing to make sure we’ve got enough capacity going forward.”
Whenever questions or challenges have arisen, the city takes advantage of Unitrends 24/7/365 US-based support team.
“Support is a big reason I’d recommend Unitrends,” says Reitz. “If I’ve got an issue, I get right on the line with an engineer. That’s been huge, especially when dealing with backups — these are issues I try to take care of right away. It’s been a great feeling for me to be able to work with support and talk with somebody right away.”
When asked to sum up his experience with Unitrends over the last three years, Reitz responds:
“I’ve never had an issue where the data is unable to be accessed or restored. Every time I’ve had to go in and do a restore, I haven’t had to worry about the data not opening or not working. The consistency of Unitrends has been one of its greatest features.”