The Business Challenge
Catalent Pharma Solutions has 20+ sites worldwide and more than 8,000 employees. Its facility in Swindon, UK, houses a large number of file, application and database servers and was the first site to undergo the virtualization process.
“After we implemented VMware vSphere, the next logical step was to implement a backup solution designed specifically for virtualized servers,” said Dave Clark, Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Catalent. “We tried to back them up with the same backup tool we use with our few remaining physical servers, but that process was archaic and time-consuming.”
Dave and his colleagues considered two virtual machine (VM) backup solutions.
“Choosing Veeam Backup & Replication™ was an easy decision,” he said. “Veeam has all the features we need, and the other product did not. For example, Veeam was the only solution at the time to fully support VMware vSphere, especially with regard to changed block tracking, which increased our incremental backup speed dramatically. We also needed a rapid and reliable solution for VM recovery. Veeam lets us restore files in minutes rather than hours.”
Dave and his colleagues were so pleased with Veeam Backup & Replication that they implemented the solution in all 20+ Catalent sites worldwide. “Little did we know that Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery capability would later save the day after a fire at our Corby site in the UK,” he said.
The Veeam Solution
In March, 2011 a fire damaged servers at Catalent’s site in Corby. The site contained six mission-critical VMs running applications related to inventory, production and shipping.
The fire caused a complete interruption of services to the business. “It was very beneficial that we had Veeam Backup & Replication in place,” Dave said. If we had continued using the physical backup process to protect our data, it would have taken at least a week to recover the servers and restore files, but with Veeam it took hours. Veeam reduced our recovery time by 95 percent and enabled us to resume the packaging process quickly at other sites.”
Prior to the fire, Catalent’s IT team had to respond to a natural disaster that was the result of repercussions from an earthquake and tsunami at its two sites in Japan.
“Long-term power outages due to flooding threatened one of the offices, so we decided the best way to protect our data was to replicate between the two sites with Veeam,” Dave explained. “This disaster recovery initiative was so successful that we’re planning on extending replication globally. Our sites in North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific will replicate VMs within their respective regions.”
In addition to restoring and replicating VMs quickly during an emergency situation, Veeam Backup & Replication saves Catalent’s IT team a great deal of time during routine data center operations.
“Before we deployed Veeam, an incremental backup of the file server at the Swindon site took 24 hours,” Dave explained. “With Veeam, it takes about an hour. We can also restore a VM 97 percent faster than before. What used to take 12 hours with the physical backup process now takes 20 minutes or less with Veeam. Veeam was a brilliant choice for Catalent.”
Business operations resume quickly after fire
If Catalent’s IT team hadn’t implemented Veeam Backup & Replication to back up its virtual servers and had continued using the same tool it used to back up its physical servers, the VM recovery process would have taken at least seven days after the fire. Instead, it took hours with Veeam Backup & Replication, a 95 percent reduction in time.
Replication acts as insurance policy by protecting data in case of future disaster
Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Catalent’s IT team implemented an additional disaster recovery initiative. The team plans to use Veeam Backup & Replication to replicate VMs between sites in regions worldwide.
VM backup and restore speeds increase significantly
Before Catalent’s IT team deployed Veeam Backup & Replication, an incremental backup of a particular file server took 24 hours. With Veeam, that process takes about an hour. The IT team can also restore a VM faster than before. What used to take 12 hours with the physical backup process now takes 20 minutes or less with Veeam.