The top ten IT issues in education were revealed at this year’s EDUCAUSE annual event in Philadelphia. With colleges and universities being more data driven today than ever before it’s no surprise that how to manage data and put it to work dominate the list again this year. Data has become the key driver to delivering better student experiences in higher education, and as such, the lifeblood of colleges and universities nationwide. But as the amount of data that colleges and universities generate explodes, administrators need look to next-generation solutions to manage, use, and put the data to work to improve student experience, education outcomes, and overall operational efficiency.

This turned out to be the scenario for an Ivy League university that recently decided to adopt a Cloud First strategy and consolidate their on premise IT infrastructure while moving workloads to the cloud. The school started to look at data management solutions that would drive success for students. In order to move towards a data-enabled IT strategy, they decided to redesign their IT infrastructure with a more secure, robust environment that would create efficiencies and cut costs.

Prior to the redesign, their backup data was on tape and when they experienced a failure that took down 35Tb, it took ten full days to restore their data. The university decided they could no longer assume the risk that came with their old infrastructure and took matters into their own hands.

In doing so, they chose to partner with NetApp and began deciding what data would be moved to the cloud. “The school picked and chose which applications would move to the cloud based on best practices. This along with our flash and cloud technologies fit nicely into the school’s strategy,” commented Matt Lawson, Principal Architect, State and Local Government and Education at NetApp. By eliminating tape as backup, the school saw an instant reduction in its IT footprint.

With a new infrastructure in place, the university now has seamless data protection and if storage becomes unavailable, the school can quickly spin up a cloud-based appliance and recover data directly in the cloud, or download an appliance and recover data locally. It’s a win-win.

While a more modern, secure infrastructure is expected to bring about cost savings for this particular school, “I believe the most important opportunity that this institution has leveraged is the move away from tape to something that fits their long-term cloud strategy,” Lawson said. And now, more than ever, colleges and universities must get ahead of the data management curve as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Download the full case study here.