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Fairfax County Schools Using Catalogic Software to Combat Disorganization

Fairfax County Public Schools is the largest public district in the entire state of Virginia. In a district that generates multiple petabytes worth of data across nearly 300 different schools to date, data storage, archival and security must remain at the top of their IT team's priorities. As such, Fairfax County Public Schools has recently embraced Catalogic ECX Instant Copy Data Management as a means of automating the transmittal of NetApp-generated snapshots to two separate data centers.

Servers, Servers and More Servers

The primary data center boasts more than 1,000 servers and approximately 300 virtual machines. Additional servers, approximately 2,500 in all, are located in various facilities throughout the Fairfax County Public Schools district. Their primary data center also features a four-node FAS cluster as well as a two-node cluster, both of which are running the NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP operating system.

An Enormous Amount of Data

Stepphon Gayle, Fairfax County Public Schools' enterprise data storage manager, spoke candidly about the usefulness of Catalogic ECX by saying: "We do a lot less babysitting now. Prior to using Catalogic, I would have to monitor backup copies every day and resync any that may have failed. ECX gives me an automated report every day of what failed and what didn't. In most cases, it will just run and correct itself. If I need to resync a volume, the index points to the original copy, so I can pull it up and have it available as a backup."

With a platform that serves approximately 186,000 full-time students and an additional 35,000 staff members, the process of archiving, resyncing and maintaining such data is no small task. According to reports, almost 2 petabytes of data are currently contained within the IT systems of Fairfax County Public Schools. Catalogic ECX Instant Copy Data Management streamlines the process by purging outdated data and enhancing security on critical files.

Gayle continued touting Catalogic's functionality by saying: "Before we had ECX, we found the NetApp vaults to be unstable. Once it lost sync, we had to destroy it and recreate it, which meant losing all backup data we had to that point. We primarily did mirrors as real-time representations of data, but that meant any corrupted volumes got mirrored to the secondary copy," and: "Catalogic allowed us to perform data replication and vaulting. We set up our backup policies and schedules, and can have any number of copies we want."

The dedication and commitment on behalf of the Fairfax County Public Schools' IT team cannot be denied. With a willingness to embrace emerging technology, the knowledge to implement it correctly and the forethought to plan for the future, Fairfax County Public Schools can certainly serve as a role model for other schools and institutions.

More Information and a Free Trial

For more information on Catalogic, including details on the ECX Instant Copy Data Management tool, please visit their official website at, where you'll find a comprehensive list of products and solutions, pricing details and access to additional resources. Interested parties can even try out a free trial of EXC Instant Copy Data Management tool to make sure it's right for their institution.


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