At the start of this semester nearly 80% of the labs had been imaged using the new RIS server, there were some problems that required some manual intervention right before the semester started, but those were documented and wouldn’t be an issue for future imaging sessions.

Two major projects were in progress during this time. The first project involved researching, testing and implementing a new backup solution. The second project was maintaining a stable networking environment for the newly installed cluster. Both of these projects were entwined with each other as the addition of the cluster necessitated its backup.

The original backup solution was a product called Legato; it was neither cluster-aware nor intuitive to use. As a stop-gap we were backing up the cluster using the built-in Windows Backup utility, it provided a stable backup as well as reporting that we were unable to get using Legato. System Center Data Protection Manager was the product that we finally settled on.

DPM gave us all the things that Legato was unable to provide short, term storage onto disk, long term storage onto tape and the ability to report on the status of backup and restore jobs. DPM provides an incredibly intuitive interface that allows us the ability to easily locate and restore lost files from weeks ago.

The other major project was resolving the stability issues for the cluster. The cluster had repeatedly failed over for unknown reasons on a regular basis. After months of working closely with the support team at Dell, the root cause of the problem turned out to be a leftover configuration to allow the Legato product to provide backups.