For more than 30 years, the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) has been dedicated to research on problems that affect the healthy development of children of all ages. The Eugene, Oregon–based research center employs 150 people, including 16 scientists. The center has collectively published over 1,100 books, journal articles, and evidence-based interventions in the area of psychological and social development of both young people and their families.
"Our research helps a number of issues faced in our community, such as early childhood development, youth homelessness, and drug and alcohol dependencies," explained Mike Kinner, IT manager at OSLC. "Our scientists develop programs that address social and psychological issues through defined practices that are validated by evidence-based research."
One such program is KEEP, a 16-week course designed for foster and kinship parents of children and teens. It's been shown that many foster youth today suffer from behavioral and mental health issues.
If left unaddressed, these can have severely negative, long-term consequences. By working directly with foster and kinship parents, the KEEP program aims to provide foster families with the tools they need to better address and understand these issues.
"This training is a very open, nonjudgmental, hands-on environment, where the most diverse of foster parents can relate to other foster parents and gain important and useful parenting skills. These skills not only benefit the foster children but also everyone in the home," reads a testimonial from one foster family near the end of a program.
Programs like this are the result of the hard work and commitment of the scientists and other employees at OSLC, a nonprofit whose projects are funded entirely by federal grants. And to help ease the burden associated with technology costs, OSLC uses TechSoup for a number of solutions, including Veritas Backup Exec 20.
Critical Data Needs a Reliable Backup Tool
It's no surprise that a research facility like OSLC gathers a great deal of data, in multiple formats. Furthermore, all of these data are stored across multiple servers. And so, the organization needs a robust comprehensive plan in place in case there's a catastrophe.
"With the generous Veritas donation of Backup Exec through TechSoup, we are able to reliably and efficiently back up our data and meet the objectives of our disaster recovery plan. We use Linux and virtualization heavily, and the Backup Exec exceeds my expectations with how simply and effectively these technologies are supported," Mike noted.
In case you're not familiar, Linux is a free and open-source operating system.
Virtualization is the practice of creating a virtual version of something like a computer or server and dividing it into separate computing environments. Organizations can partition a single physical computer or server into several virtual machines. Each virtual machine can then work independently and run different operating systems or applications while sharing the resources of a single host machine.
"The Linux install is very simple, and only requires a single package with an intuitive installation wizard. Virtualization support is equally simple to set up, and greatly improves performance compared to traditional backup methods," Mike said.
Focusing on What Really Matters
The ease with which Mike was able to implement a crucial backup plan allows him to focus on OSLC's other day-to-day IT needs — work that helps keep things running smoothly and projects up and running.
"Using Backup Exec affords us the time and confidence to focus our efforts toward helping our scientists and support teams to help people and our community," Mike explained.
He also points to the donation programs offered through TechSoup as a great benefit to the organization.
"TechSoup's website is like a treasure chest full of donations made easy for the picking. We have been the benefactor of many donations through TechSoup over the years, and we greatly appreciate how quickly we can find and acquire solutions," he noted.
With systems backed up and a reliable disaster recovery plan in place, OSLC will continue to conduct groundbreaking research. That will ultimately help children of all backgrounds, their families, the communities in which they live — and the world at large.