The University of Reading is one of the United Kingdom’s leading research universities and has been in existence for more than 150 years. It ranked amongst the Top 250 universities in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2020. The university has a global presence – with Whiteknights and London Road campuses in Reading, Berkshire; Henley Business School at Greenlands campus in Henley-upon-Thames; Henley Business School (South Africa) in Johannesburg; and the University of Reading Malaysia in Iskandar.
Kevin Mortimer, Infrastructure Services Manager, manages a team of 23 people which supports over 18,000 students and 7,000 faculty. “IT underpins the entire teaching experience at the university, ranging from providing email accounts, storing data, and streaming lectures,” said Mortimer. “As an IT department, we are 100% service-focused. We deliver services that cater to our users’ needs. Rubrik enables us to accelerate the delivery of services to drive strategic business value.”
Rubrik repurposes our existing backup data to drive greater value to the business beyond data protection.
Rubrik’s Polaris Sonar helps us automate sensitive data classification, such as credit card information and passport data, in order to better understand our overall risk posture.
- Time-consuming tape-based legacy solution
- Slow data access and restores
- Unable to protect all applications
- PCI-DSS compliance required too many resources and times which put us at risk of fines
- Manual, time-consuming approach to data discovery and classification
- Lack of visibility into where sensitive student and employee data resides and is overexposed
- Policy-driven automation for management simplicity
- Google-like search for fast granular recoveries
- One software across physical and virtual applications, on-prem to Microsoft Azure
- One solution for data protection and sensitive data discovery – no need to manage multiple solutions
- 90% faster restores for SQL (from days to seconds)
- 75% management time savings
- 60% data reduction
- Up and running in minutes
- Assist with PCI-DSS compliance without risking fines or dedicating multiple resources
Frustration with unreliable and time-consuming legacy solution
Prior to Rubrik, the IT team were limited by their tape-centric legacy solution. “Backups have to work—that’s the entire point. If our backups are failing, we can’t meet our user demands,” said Mortimer. “On top of that, our previous solution was unable to protect our environment in a timely manner.”
“One of our biggest frustrations was the length of time it took to locate data for a restore,” said Mortimer. “We could not perform restores with any degree of reliability. Tapes were located onsite and offsite, which required a significant amount of time to manage. Our Microsoft Exchange environment, which is critical to our users, could not be adequately protected. On top of that, a full backup would take over a week to complete. The solution was becoming completely unmanageable.”
Prior to Rubrik, the organization employed a tape-based legacy solution that was fraught with hardware issues and required perpetual babysitting.
Seamless integration with Nutanix AHV and Microsoft Azure
During their evaluation, Mortimer and team considered a number of solutions but ultimately ended up with Rubrik. “Other vendors were either too complicated or wanted us to run a lot of hardware on premises. We needed a data management solution that would allow us to ‘set it and forget it,’” said Mortimer.
“Our environment is 98% virtualized, running Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware and Nutanix AHV, and we utilize Nexenta as our primary storage,” said Mortimer. “We’re thrilled that Rubrik is able to support our Nutanix AHV infrastructure. Compared to other technologies, Rubrik and Nutanix have proven they can outperform — I can’t think of a better fit.”
“Rubrik has also allowed us to completely migrate off tape and archive to public cloud with Microsoft Azure,” said Mortimer. “We’ve already leveraged Azure for significant cost savings, and the integration with cloud couldn’t be easier — just assign an SLA and Rubrik takes care of the rest. As a public university, we are also subject to Freedom of Information requests. Rubrik makes it a simple process for us to retrieve any documents needed to respond to queries.”
“As we operate on-premises and in the cloud, we are especially excited about the Polaris SaaS platform,” added Mortimer. “Polaris will organize all our information to make it easily discoverable and usable in order to solve our organization’s key challenges.”
We’re thrilled that Rubrik is able to support our Nutanix AHV infrastructure. Compared to other technologies, Rubrik and Nutanix have proven they can outperform.
University of Reading Simplifies PCI-DSS Compliance
Prior to Rubrik, University of Reading relied on manual processes to identify sensitive data discovery and classification. “This process required too many resources and too much time to prove PCI-DSS compliance. Thus, at times, the university was at risk of fines in order to free up those resources for more critical outcome-based work. Sonar provides a platform to assist with our PCI-DSS compliance efforts without risking fines or dedicating multiple teams. Since Sonar is continuously scanning our data, we now have more visibility into where PCI data, such as credit card numbers, is stored and if it’s in authorized locations. This helps us better identify where we may have large volumes of financial data overexposed, understand the level of risk, and assign data ownership in order to begin putting in remediation plans in place,” said Mortimer.
Additional benefits include:
- One platform for data protection and sensitive data discovery: “With Rubrik, we have a single product that continues to provide value beyond data protection. We love that we can leverage our existing backup data to assist with data classification and compliance instead of managing multiple systems. Since Sonar is continuously monitoring our data in the background, we can reallocate our time for other important projects.”
- Identification of unauthorized repositories of financial data: “We were able to identify a finance system that was incorrectly retaining credit card data to an unauthorized location albeit securely. As a result, we were able to begin redesigning the system.”
- Simple, fast setup and management: “Like Rubrik’s core CDM platform, Sonar is very easy to use and fast. The setup and drilling down into the results of the scan just take a couple of minutes. Today, if we have a problem to investigate, the process is much simpler than manually digging through information ourselves.”
Like Rubrik’s core CDM platform, Sonar is very easy to use and fast. The setup and drilling down into the results of the scan just take a couple of minutes.
Instant recover and management simplicity for Microsoft SQL server
“Our previous solution could only backup around 10% of our environment. With Rubrik, we’re protecting 90% of our environment and will eventually capture everything,” said Mortimer. “Previously, our DBAs were checking backup jobs daily, in addition to performing full backups and shipping logs offsite. With Rubrik’s incremental-forever backups, we have considerably reduced our daily backup load,” said Mortimer.
“Rubrik also blew us away when performing MS SQL restores. Some of our student data was corrupted, and it took a week to restore a 1.2TB database and pull out the required tables with our previous solution,” said Mortimer. “With Rubrik, it only took 30 seconds to perform a search and retrieve that data. This sold our DBAs on the power of Rubrik to meet our data management needs. We can perform file-level restores with a few clicks and roll back our servers to any point in time.” Benefits include: