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Bayer 04 Leverkusen improves backup performance by 50% and protects its IT systems from ransomware attacks with Veeam

Veeam solution secures stadium operations, prevents data loss and safeguards the IT against cyber risks

LEVERKUSEN/Germany, February 01, 2022: Veeam Software, the leader in backup, recovery and data management solutions that deliver Modern Data Protection, today announced that the German football club Bayer 04 Leverkusen implemented Veeam Backup & Replication to improve the availability and resilience of its IT. With the Veeam solution, Bayer 04 Leverkusen protects its growing data volumes against cyber-attacks and secures stadium operations on match days. IT systems for access control, cash register systems and cashless payment can be restored in less than two minutes in the event of a failure.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fußball GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical Bayer AG. The professional football team is the "flagship" of Bayer's sports teams and has been in the Bundesliga football league without interruption since 1979. Its many successes include winning the UEFA Cup in 1988, the DFB Cup in 1993 and reaching the Champions League final in 2002.

"When you hear the name Bayer 04 Leverkusen, you probably think of exciting evenings of football rather than servers and databases," says Stefan Aufderbeck, Team Leader IT Infrastructure and Platforms at Bayer 04. "However, professional football at the top level is no longer imaginable without IT support." From data analyses in talent scouting and video evaluations of recent matches, to monitoring the medical values of individual players, Bayer 04 Leverkusen uses state-of-the-art IT applications to boost team performance and and extract the final percent to succeed.

The highest availability requirements apply to the IT systems that control stadium operations on match days. More than 30,000 spectators flock to the BayArena in Leverkusen for every home game. "If a system such as the electronic access control system is unavailable for even a few seconds on that day, there is immediate turmoil at the stadium turnstiles," explains Aufderbeck.

Outages can be caused by more than just technical issues. Football clubs are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals. “As a sports brand, we are permanently in the public eye, which means we are also exposed to significantly more IT attacks than other organizations of our size," says the IT specialist. Bayer 04 was therefore looking for a solution that would reliably protect the club's IT infrastructure from data loss due to cyber risks and enable rapid recovery of any IT resources in the event of an outage.

With the support of IT partner Bechtle, Bayer 04 Leverkusen's IT department replaced the existing software with Veeam Backup & Replication. The Veeam solution ensures the continuous availability of several hundred virtual machines in a VMware vSphere environment, including all applications related to stadium operations at the BayArena. "If one of these critical systems fails on match day, we can make it available again in less than two minutes with the Veeam solution," reports Aufderbeck.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen uses a protected object storage repository based on Nutanix technology as capacity storage for its growing data volumes. Thanks to Veeam's immutable backup feature, the backed-up data is safe from any tampering. "We can specify that the backups in object storage cannot be changed for a certain period of time," explains Aufderbeck. "This means our data is also optimally protected against potential ransomware attacks."

The integrated deduplication technology helps reduce the storage requirements for the backed-up data by around 50 percent, thus minimizing backup storage costs as well. In addition, Veeam integrates cost-effective archive storage in the cloud for long-term archiving of vast amounts of data.

Finally, the Veeam solution also allows Bayer 04 Leverkusen to implement a reliable disaster recovery strategy. The IT organization plans to use Veeam Backup & Replication to keep copies of all virtual machines at a third data center location. Business-critical applications will also be replicated to a cold-standby environment in Microsoft Azure in the future. Even if all of the club's data centers were impacted by a disaster, the most important services could be brought back up in the cloud within a few hours.

"The importance of information technology continues to grow in professional football,” summarizes Aufderbeck. “That's why it was so important for us to take the protection of our IT systems to a new level with Veeam. At the same time, Veeam helps us get a handle on the growing volumes of data in all areas of the club, and protects us against ransomware attacks."

To learn more, visit: https://www.veeam.com/success-stories.html

About Veeam Software

Veeam is the leader in backup, recovery and data management solutions that deliver Modern Data Protection. The company provides a single platform for Cloud, Virtual, Physical, SaaS and Kubernetes environments. Veeam customers are confident their apps and data are protected from ransomware, disaster and harmful actors and always available with the most simple, flexible, reliable and powerful platform in the industry. Veeam protects over 400,000 customers worldwide, including 81% of the Fortune 500 and 70% of the Global 2,000. Veeam’s global ecosystem includes 35,000+ technology partners, resellers and service providers, and alliance partners and has offices in more than 30 countries. To learn more, visit https://www.veeam.com or follow Veeam on LinkedIn @veeam-software and Twitter @veeam.