Parul University, a leading private university based in Vadodara, Gujarat that has been experimenting with the latest technologies for enriching university experiences, was faced with the unique challenges of data deluge, as it shifted to remote learning from the conventional on-site and blended learning systems, in the wake of the pandemic.
Although in recent years, the organization has introduced new digital resources to complement face-to-face teaching, the sudden switch to collective online learning sent data volumes soaring, placing unprecedented pressure on the institution’s data protection solution, just when it was needed the most.
The University offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in a range of disciplines to more than 28,000 students, through 20 faculties and 36 institutes, and couldn’t afford to lose ant data, started looking for a solution to this problem.
Snehalkumar Darji, Chief Technology Officer, Parul University, said, “We use digital learning spaces, including Google classroom, Microsoft Teams, Jitsy and Zoom, to extend education to students wherever they are, whenever they want. We continue to invest in AI-based assessment to make the examination process more convenient to students and faculty.”
“While on one hand the University was in a strong position to respond to the global pandemic that prevented students, faculty and staff travelling to campus, on the other, we saw our data double from 100PB to 200PB in 12 months,” said Darji.
“We cannot afford to lose or delay access to any data, as that would threaten the quality of education that we provide and our reputation for excellence. In particular, we wanted to ensure non-stop access to our examination portal, where 28,000 students take evaluations weekly, quarterly and annually. It was vital that we stepped up our data protection measures,” he said.
It was then that Parul University selected Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Plus, the company’s data protection solution, to ensure continuity of service for the organization’s new online offerings. The university worked with Allot Systems Integration to evaluate and deploy the solution.
“We chose the Veeam solution because it combines simple management with advanced functionality,” said Darji. “Working with Allot Systems Integration, we carried out a PoC with impressive results, before carrying out a full deployment in just two days with no impact to staff or students.”
Using Veeam Backup & Replication, Parul University was able to replicate data across its entire physical and virtual environment for the first time. The solution backs up data from essential applications, including the university’s learning management system, ERP and examination portal.
“We’ve introduced a new layer of protection for all the systems that enable day-to-day running of the university,” said Darji. “Rather than prioritizing and classifying which data is truly essential, we can back up everything from a single, intuitive point of control. Before, we checked that backups had completed successfully manually. Now our backup success rate has increased from 80 or 90% to almost 100% and we get an automated daily report with that information.”
By restoring data faster with Veeam, Parul University is helping to ensure that students can access a high quality of education remotely, 24/7. The innovative institution is confident that the Veeam platform will evolve alongside its digital offerings.
The results were clearly visible. The solution enabled superb availability for the online examination portal, allowing students to take tests weekly as well as ensure seamless remote learning for students.
The university could now cut data restore times from up to two hours to as little as 15 minutes, increasing business resilience and there is minimum interruptions for students, faculty and staff as they are provided non-stop access to essential data. Veeam’s new solution also saved the backup administrator 20 hours per month, now diverted to IT innovation.
“The pandemic has tremendously accelerated digitization of the education sector. However, these new conditions have forced universities to completely rely on online learning, putting pressure on IT infrastructure,” said Sandeep Bhambure, Vice President & Managing Director, Veeam India & SAARC.
He added, “We are pleased to partner with Parul University in its mission of continuing to raise educational standards for its students, transforming data protection strategy and ensuring non-stop access to the examination portal. Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Plus helps the university replicate data across its entire physical and virtual environment. The solution is well poised to help provide seamless access to essential data for students, faculty and staff.”
“To stand out in the crowded education sector, you have to embrace innovation,” said Darji.
According to him, “With Veeam protecting our data, we have the solid foundations to continue developing digitally empowered learning for our students. Veeam Backup and Replication has so many great built-in features, we’re convinced that it will cover all eventualities as Parul University takes on the next challenge.”
The university is now applying spare IT resources to set up an on-premises hyper-converged infrastructure private cloud, enabling exciting new features for examinations, assessments and online learning.