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Texas school association finds success with disaster recovery preparedness

Texas schools ready their data systems for potential disasters.
Texas schools ready their data systems for potential disasters.

Due to the constant threat of earthquakes and tornadoes, business and municipalities in Texas need to be prepared to handle whatever nature throws their way. As a result, one business in the Lone Star State recently embarked on a disaster recovery initiative that successfully reshaped how the company used its servers as a means to protect its data.

The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), which represents more than 1,000 school districts in Texas, recently turned to virtualization as a solution to its data needs, which were vast, as the TASB is responsible for the safety of data from more than 600,000 employees and roughly 4.7 million students.

The organization had previously been using a direct-attached storage unit for its data that its employees found difficult to manage. According to InformationWeek, which profiled the business in a December 16 piece, workers found that this 20-terabyte storage system was either fully utilized or underutilized, and that a balance was hard to strike.

Overall, Tony Fowlie, the technical architect for the TASB, was able to reduce the number of physical servers his company used from 200 in 2008 to around 60 today, the news source says. This in turn has allowed TASB to guarantee that in the event of a disaster, it can have the system up and running in as little as 15 minutes.

"Every virtual machine is its own volume," Fowlie told the media outlet. "We pick the volumes we want to replicate and set the replication schedule. And the software does the replication automatically."

To better protect their data, other area businesses could benefit from working with a business continuity specialist to adapt creative solutions for their clients. For example, small businesses may be able to speed up their disaster recovery planning and secure hot sites at more affordable rates by working with a qualified consultant.