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Hospital picks Commvault data protection for Hyper-V, VMware

An Iowa-based hospital switched its troublesome IBM Tivoli backup offering for Commvault's data platform, simplifying virtual backups of VMware and Hyper-V.

Like many organizations, Montgomery County Memorial Hospital switched from tape backup to disk and from physical servers to virtual servers to modernize its IT. For the Iowa hospital, those changes also led to a switch to Commvault data protection software.

Terry Koppa, network administrator for Montgomery County Memorial Hospital (MCMH), based in Red Oak, Iowa, said her team became frustrated with its legacy IBM tape library and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager -- now IBM Spectrum Protect -- in recent years. When one IT employee assigned to administer Tivoli quit, she decided to look for a software replacement. The hospital picked Commvault data protection software, partly because of the way it handles Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware hypervisors.

"When I lost a full-time employee to Tivoli, we started to look around," Koppa said.

MCMH is in a rural location, where the next closest hospital is more than 35 miles away, and finding IT staff is difficult. Koppa said the hospital needed a reliable, automated platform to support 150 physical and virtual servers and Microsoft Windows desktops. The IT department manages about 70 TB of storage for clinical applications, patient medical records and healthcare reimbursement data.

Prior to installing the Commvault data protection software, the hospital used an IBM TS3200 tape library, along with the Tivoli backup software. Koppa said they had to deal with the typical headaches that come with using tape, but using the backup software was a manually intensive process, requiring installation of an agent with each new server.

"The overhead and time commitment was huge," Koppa said. "We really started to run into trouble when we moved to server virtualization. As the servers got old, we replaced them with virtual servers. The VMware was installed successfully. [But] with the Microsoft Hyper-V, we had to convert the virtual hard disk and the servers had to go down.

We never felt like we were confident that we had the backups.
Terry Koppanetwork administrator, MCMH

"We had far more Hyper-V than VMware," Koppa said. "[Tivoli] only supported Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher, and we had 2008 R2. Just for us to prep our environment for the agents was huge."

Koppa said she also found IBM support service lacking for Tivoli. She said it would take days to get help and days to restore data.

"We never felt like we were confident that we had the backups," she said.

Data management now streamlined

Koppa said the switch to Commvault data protection has alleviated the hospital IT team's load, lowering backup and recovery costs along with the administrative overhead. She said it takes 15 minutes a day to manage backup and recovery with the Commvault data protection software. Commvault allows MCMH to manage VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines under a unified virtual protection view.

"I can do restores. I can look at my jobs and look at all my logs," she said. "Pretty much everything you have to do in a [data protection] system is contained in one GUI interface. Every day I get a report that tells me the statistics of each backup. If a job were to fail, there is a hyperlink that I click on that tells me how to fix it. With Tivoli, I had to manually go to the server to see the log file and see why it failed."

Koppa said Commvault's interface streamlines the data management via automation, and it provides comprehensive reporting.

"We don't have tape anymore," she said. "Everything is on spinning disk."

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