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Leibniz University Hannover


Dr. Andreas Gerdes
Leibniz University IT Services (LUIS), Hannover
«Bacula Enterprise was the only backup software – of all the products we surveyed – that was capable of client authentication on all operating systems»

The Challenge

The Leibniz University Hannover had to find a backup and restore solution that supports client authentication. In addition, TLS encryption of data streams was an identified requirement for implementation at a later stage. With approximately 350 backup clients, the university also needed enterprise-level support. True scalability was also an essential. “It wasn’t difficult to find Bacula Systems” says Dr. Gerdes, member of the Computing & Storage Services team. “We also considered products from other vendors, but in the end, Bacula Systems emerged as the clear choice”.

The Solution

The university’s strict requirement for client authentication is met uniquely by Bacula Enterprise, which features comprehensive and native client authentication support. The process of deploying the new backup software was included into the overall reorganization process of the data center (including renaming RRZN to LUIS), where all services are standardized along ITILv3 guidelines. The backup service project took a little over one year, starting with the organizational decisions and discussions, followed by the surveys, testing, purchase of new hardware and then bringing the production system (Bacula Enterprise) online. At the beginning of February 2013 the service started and was made public via launch of the new Backup & Restore website. The Leibniz Universität Hannover is now in the migration phase, moving from old backup solutions to Bacula Enterprise.

“Of all the products we surveyed, Bacula was the only backup software that had the capability of client authentication for all our operating systems” says Dr. Gerdes. Standard server hardware which is used  is currently purely disk-based, although plans are in place to extend to a disk-to-disk-to-tape strategy in the medium term. “The most recent backup will be stored on disk for fast restore, while everything older than a month will be put on tape, which is the most cost efficient medium. Additionally, having a mix of media types is always a good idea.” The total amount of data (as a sum of all full backups during one month) is about 600 TB. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the university, its IT environment has a wide variety of client operating systems of which approximately 40% are Windows OS, with the remainder consisting of several Linux flavors, MacOS, FreeBSD, and a few Solaris machines.

Bacula Enterprise, used by the University, features the following security advantages:

  • CRAM-MD5 password authentication between each component (daemon)
  • Configurable TLS (SSL) communications encryption between each component
  • Configurable Data (on Volume) encryption on a Client by Client basis
  • Computation of MD5 or SHA1 signatures of the file data (default)
  • Verification of files previously cataloged, permitting a Tripwire-like capability (system break-in detection)

 The Results

The IT department provides its Backup & Restore Service to all institutes and central departments of the Leibniz Universität Hannover. Regular backup and short-term storage of backup copies of specific server data protect against accidental data loss. The data is transferred by an automated process via the university LAN to the central service provider and is stored there as a backup for a limited period. If necessary, or when needed, the data is restored. The software used is Bacula Enterprise.

Bacula’s scalability in terms of clients is very impressive” says Dr. Gerdes. “We also appreciate Bacula System’s subscription-based pricing model, which allows us to pay a reasonable price on a yearly basis – and we value the excellent support!”. As a result, other large academic data centers with which we work closely are considering changing to Bacula Enterprise in order to benefit from its unique qualities”.

About the Leibniz Universität Hannover With approximately 23,000 students in 9 faculties, the Leibniz Universität Hannover is the second largest university in Lower Saxony, Germany. The Leibniz University IT Services (LUIS), with approximately 90 employees, is the central service provider for the university.

Find out more here

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