The Business Challenge
ARGAS was one of the first companies in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia to virtualize its entire IT infrastructure on Microsoft Hyper-V. Approximately 55 virtual machines (VMs) run every critical application.
Soon after ARGAS implemented Microsoft Windows Server 2012, the company decided to replace its backup and recovery process because it was slow and disruptive. ARGAS wanted to back up and recover its Hyper-V environment quickly and reliably in Windows Server 2012, including the VM that would run a new enterprise resource management (ERP) system soon to be deployed.
“We needed a solution that could complete backup tasks within our backup window, explained Ameer Hussain, IT Manager at ARGAS. “We also needed a reliable solution that allowed us to meet our recovery time objectives (RTOs).”
ARGAS had been backing up VMs to disk manually. The IT team shut down the servers, made a binary copy of the files, transferred the copy to tape and moved the tapes offsite. Backing up VMs was so time-consuming that each VM could only be backed up on a quarterly basis. Backups were so large that they consumed a tremendous amount of storage space. And, shutting down the servers disrupted IT services to users.
“We shared our list of requirements for a new Hyper-V backup strategy with FutureTech Solutions,” said Kasim Ahmed, IT Administrator at ARGAS. “First and foremost we needed a fast and reliable solution. We also needed built-in deduplication and compression to reduce the size of our backups, and we needed something fast so we could back up all of our VMs in one day, without shutting down servers.”
Based in Al-Khobar, FutureTech Solutions provides clients with IT services for virtualization solutions that achieve a return on investment (ROI) by applying the industry’s best practices. FutureTech is a Veeam Gold ProPartner.
The Veeam Solution
FutureTech Solutions recommended Veeam® Backup & Replication™ because it met every requirement ARGAS identified as critical to its Hyper-V backup strategy. Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup, replication and recovery of virtualized applications and data for organizations running Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.
“We knew Veeam would solve ARGAS’ pain points, and at that time, it was the only solution to support Hyper-V in Microsoft Windows Server 2012,” said Nouf Al-Dossary, Marketing Executive at FutureTech Solutions. “Deploying Veeam gives ARGAS a safe and secure backup process that eliminates the issue of server restarts. Veeam is also fast. The first full backup of a massive Microsoft Exchange server took fewer than 20 minutes.
When the IT team combined data deduplication in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with data deduplication and compression in Veeam, backups required approximately 150% less storage space.
“We’re seeing compression ratios of about 7:1,” Hussain explained. “We anticipate this space savings will reduce our storage budget by up to 50% each year. To save additional costs, we may take advantage of Veeam’s native tape support in the future. We’re required to maintain data offsite for auditing purposes, and we already have a tape library we can use.”
In addition to reduced backup storage, Veeam provides fast backup and recovery.
“Before Veeam, it took two hours to back up four VMs,” Ahmed said. “With Veeam it takes four hours to back up 55 VMs, which is well within our backup window. Recovery with Veeam is much faster too—restoring a deleted email takes about three minutes. Before Veeam, restoring a deleted email could take up to 30 minutes. Now we can meet our RTOs.”
Ahmed uses Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange to browse, search and selectively export items (emails, notes, contacts, etc.) directly from Veeam backups of Microsoft Exchange VMs.
“Veeam is so simple to use and its interface is so user-friendly that there’s not much you can do wrong,” Ahmed said. “Usually interfaces are jam-packed with too many steps to create a backup. With Veeam it takes four or five steps and your backup is in place, sitting there quietly until you need it.”
Veeam also saves time for the IT team by reducing its workload.
“Some backup tools require hours of monitoring and troubleshooting each day,” Ahmed said. “But with Veeam, we spend a few minutes each morning checking Veeam reports, and then we focus on other aspects of IT. Veeam is a great, easy-to-use and simplified solution. It has made our lives in IT a lot easier and more efficient.”
Reliable backup solution supports Microsoft Hyper-V and protects ERP
When ARGAS began looking for a new backup and recovery solution to protect its virtual environment on Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Veeam Backup & Replication was the only one to support Hyper-V. Another reason ARGAS chose Veeam was because FutureTech Solutions demonstrated and provided proof of concept that Veeam would protect all virtualized data, including data in the new ERP system. “We believe Veeam is the best backup and recovery solution for virtualized environments,” Al-Dossary said. “We’ve recommended Veeam to many clients, and all report excellent results.”
Compressed, deduplicated backup requires 150% less storage
When the deduplication feature in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is combined with Veeam’s built-in deduplication and compression, the size of VM backups at ARGAS decrease significantly, requiring 150% less storage, which will save the company up to 50% in storage costs.
Operational costs decrease; IT focuses on new initiatives
In addition to decreased backup storage costs, Veeam Backup & Replication reduced the time needed for ARGAS to monitor and troubleshoot backups. With Veeam, the IT team checks reports for a few minutes each day and moves on to other tasks. Before Veeam, the manual backup process took hours each day, tying up at least one member of the team when he could have been working on other projects.