Case study: NY Mets add deduplication to roster


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New York's "other" baseball team installed deduplication appliances in the first stage of retooling its backup processes.

The New York Mets, a legendary baseball team, were seemingly on top of the world in 2007 and cruising toward a playoff spot with a seven game lead. At the same time, the organization's IT group was planning to extend its wireless network to accommodate the hundreds of extra reporters who would cover the post-season games. But with just 17 games left to play, the Mets went into a tailspin, losing 12 of their remaining games--an epic collapse. While that dashed the team's hope of going to the World Series and the need to extend its network, it hardly slowed the rush of data the IT group was scrambling to back up.

"Our data just keeps growing no matter what happens on the field," says Joseph Milone, senior director of information systems and technology at Sterling American Property Inc., an affiliate of Sterling Equities, which is the parent company of the Mets. Sterling American Property, primarily a real estate and venture capital firm, maintains two data centers: one at Shea Stadium and another at its corporate headquarters in Great Neck, NY, approximately 12 miles from the stadium.

The glamour of sports aside, the Mets' biggest data management problem, typical of many midsized organizations, comes down to one word: backup. "The data is getting

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harder and harder to back up," says Milone. With huge volumes of photos and video, as well as the usual corporate data, the organization was facing the need to back up terabytes of data.

The company found itself saddled with a cumbersome, error-prone and labor-intensive backup process. A couple of backup failures were enough to get Milone looking for a new approach. By March 2007, just when spring training was in full swing, he started thinking about new disk-to-disk (D2D) or disk-to-tape (D2T) alternatives to tape backup. With low-cost disk, virtual tape and newer technologies like deduplication, Milone felt he could not only streamline the Mets' backup requirements but take care of Sterling's other ventures as well.

This puts the Mets right in the sweet spot of the D2D backup market. A recent study by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) found that midsized organizations are more likely to turn to D2D virtual tape backup solutions to replace physical tape than are large enterprises, reports Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst at the Milford, MA-based research firm.

This was first published in March 2008

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