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Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Non-Profit Biotech Saves Thousands with Axcient Integrated Cloud Solution

At Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, more than 150 scientists from more than 20 countries are striving to reduce the burden of hunger and malnutrition in developing countries and improve human health at home and abroad. Danforth Center researchers are also working to develop the next generation of biofuels: alternative sources of energy that are affordable, sustainable and ecologically sound.

Tim Belfield, senior technical analyst at the center, has worked diligently with a team of five IT professionals managing everything from Web development to database administration to helpdesk support. With an IT infrastructure of more than 20TB of data, Belfield’s mission was to find and implement a reliable backup and recovery solution.

Three Solutions Failing to Provide End-to-End Protection

Belfield had in place a system that failed to provide complete data and application protection. Using three products from three different vendors created a problem for him in regard to costs and time management. With more than 20 servers to protect (including an important MS Exchange server), Belfield was using Symantec NetBackup that was backed up to tape, which was then shipped offsite using Recall. This complicated system was failing to provide the protection they needed. However, this problem was no closer to being resolved when Belfield switched to CommVault: this new system still required him to backup to tape and send weekly offsites.

As Belfield came to realize, the combined products were very difficult to manage and costly – the center spent approximately $21,000 a year on a solution that wasn’t up to par. “The licensing fee with CommVault, the amount of tape being purchased yearly and our offsite storage made this configuration very expensive,” Belfield said. “The costs and day-to-day managing of the tape and CommVault were the ultimate reasons why we decided to look for a better solution.”

A Powerfully Simple Hybrid-Cloud Solution

Belfield’s goal was to find a cost effective alternative that provided end-to-end data and application protection. Axcient’s Recovery-as-a-Service cloud-based solution replaced CommVault, tape, and Recall, the offsite service. With Axcient, Belfield received a single, integrated platform that enabled local and cloud protection. The benefits were clear: Axcient provided easy disaster recovery testing in a sandboxed environment and quick failover locally or to the cloud at no additional cost.

“We had an instance where a server went down, and with Axcient, I was able to spin up a VM and get it back online very quickly with hardly any interruption – employees just continued working,” Belfield said.

Reduced Total Cost of Ownership

When it came to reducing costs, the difference was noticeably visible to Belfield and the team. “By switching to Axcient, a consolidated solution, we’re now saving thousands of dollars a year,” Belfield said. “We’re spending less time managing our system which allows us to allocate more resources to other IT needs. Axcient’s ease-of-use also means my team and I can conduct routine disaster recovery testing with just a click and we’re already making plans to implement that soon.”

Another point that has impressed Belfield with Axcient is the customer support. “The customer support from Axcient has been great. They are very responsive and always help resolve any issues very quickly,” said Belfield, referring to Axcient’s proactive approach to customer satisfaction and having a support specialist answer calls in 60 seconds or less.

READ MORE in the full PDF.


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