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Harvard Vanguard Cures Data Backup Ills With EMC Avamar

Data Deduplication Technology Slashes Data Backup Size from 3.2 Terabytes to 1 Terabyte; Backup Time Reduced from 35 to 2 Hours

HOPKINTON, Mass., April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced that Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a multi-specialty medical group delivering care to 450,000-plus patients at more than 20 offices across eastern Massachusetts, has deployed an EMC Avamar(R) backup and recovery solution to significantly increase the reliability and efficiency of its growing backup operations while improving its IT efficiencies.

Harvard Vanguard previously performed tape backups of servers located at 18 different practice sites. Because the local staff could no longer keep up with longer backup cycles, failing backups, finding lost tapes and cleaning tape drives, Harvard Vanguard began sending its backups over the network to a large tape drive in the main datacenter, but this solution also presented issues.

"Our data requirements have increased significantly," said Rich April, Harvard Vanguard's Director of Network Engineering. "When we performed the tape backups locally, it was becoming too labor-intensive and failure-prone with bigger backups - especially across 18 sites. So we centralized our tape backups but it still would take 35 hours to complete. We'd have to run the backups at night; pause them while people were in the office and restart that night. Because the data had to be carved into different sections, it was a complex process. And when tape backup jobs failed, as they often do, it was a real headache because the backup window was frequently too congested to allow for rescheduling of a failed backup."

The physician group decided to replace its Symantec Backup Exec tape backup software with EMC Avamar to automate the backup process for financial and billing data and other information to a centralized Avamar storage grid. Harvard Vanguard also uses Avamar to replicate backups to another site 12 miles away for disaster recovery purposes in case the primary backup is damaged or destroyed.

"With EMC data deduplication technology, we've been able to reduce the size of data backups from 3.2 terabytes to 1 terabyte," said April. "Data backups now take two hours instead of 35 hours. More importantly, EMC Avamar runs and we almost forget it's there. It just drives everything and then automatically creates two copies, so we have even more protection than before."

Before Avamar, a restore was a laborious process that took at least a day to identify the tape, retrieve it from an offsite facility and recover the data. There also would be costs for staff time and tape delivery. Harvard Vanguard now restores data in minutes or hours depending on the restore size. With corporate offices in Newton, Mass., Harvard Vanguard estimates that the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to backup operations now handled by Avamar was reduced from 4 to .25 FTEs. Additional savings related to tape costs and powering tape drives that were "on" all the time were also achieved.

"By making our backups more reliable and less labor intensive, our IT staff is able to focus on more important priorities," said April. "As a leader in leveraging healthcare information technology to enhance patient care and quality, Harvard Vanguard is always focused on creating new and better healthcare delivery models so our IT staff has to be ready to deliver on new ideas."

In addition, Harvard Vanguard stores data for all of its applications - including Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), Picture Archiving Communications Systems (PACS), Oracle, file shares, Microsoft Exchange and others - on its EMC CLARiiON storage infrastructure. Harvard Vanguard uses EMC NetWorker(R) software for backup of its EMRs and EMC SnapView(TM) software for cloning production data for backups and disaster recovery

In a major consolidation project, Harvard Vanguard has deployed VMware ESX software to virtualize 120 servers onto 12 physical blade servers. By end of 2010, Harvard Vanguard is planning to have up to a total of 450 servers consolidated.

"On average, we're adding 30 servers each year in datacenters with limited heating and cooling capacity and floor space," said April. "With VMware so far, we've been able to introduce 35 to 40 new virtual machines for test and development and shut down another 60 to 70 servers that were coming off warranty and were too costly to maintain. We're estimating a $1.8 million savings in energy costs over three years and $2 million savings for server maintenance over five years."

About EMC

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) is the world's leading developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and create value from their information. Information about EMC's products and services can be found at

EMC, Avamar, CLARiiON and NetWorker are registered trademarks of EMC Corporation. VMware and ESX Server are trademarks or registered trademarks of VMware, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE EMC Corporation
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