AKKA Technologies, the European leader in engineering and R&D consulting, supports its clients with key expertise in future technologies such as AI, IoT and Big Data. With more than 16,000 employees spread across 50 sites in over 20 countries and a turnover of €1.3 billion in 2017, the company works with the main European industrial groups, particularly in the automotive, aeronautics, rail, energy, telecoms and defence sectors. The group, which positions itself as a real ‘accelerator for innovation’, adopted a strategic plan, running until 2022, which aims at seizing all the opportunities offered by the digital revolution, accelerating its growth in a rapidly expanding market.
Driving end-to-end digital solutions into the world’s largest industrial groups means it is important for AKKA Technologies to be able to address specific use-cases for infrastructure development and the characteristics related to highly-regulated industries such as aerospace and aeronautics. To achieve this, the company needs an agnostic solution that would allow it to backup and restore its many environments, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Windows and Linux operating systems and its Microsoft Exchange and SQL applications.
AKKA Technologies protects 1,800 VMs and more than 400 Terabytes of data to provide world-class engineering consulting and R&D services to underpin high-profile projects worldwide. Examples include ‘airport video surveillance’ (Co-Friend), ‘aircraft automatic inspection (AIR-COBOT) and ‘natural disaster prevention’ (InGeoCloudS) – all of which are leading-edge technological initiatives aimed to improve travel experience and safety, as well as supporting EU initiatives for environmental management.
Choosing Veeam was a strategic decision based on a dual purpose for IT excellence. Firstly, Veeam ensures reliable and recoverable operational data, which allows engineers to have access to all the available digital services that are required to meet project SLAs. Secondly, Veeam supports a targeted backup and granular restoration using its Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange functionality.
“We need to be able to offer our internal and external employees infrastructure as a service with restoration capabilities that comply with the SLAs set out in the agreements between the business and the IT department’s internal services,” explains Bruno Ispa, Infrastructure & Datacenters Manager at AKKA Technologies. These agreements require a flexible, fast and efficient backup service to restore complete environments within 24 to 48 hours – commitments that the previous solution did not deliver, due to a particularly heavy visualization console, excessively long backup windows and insufficient recovery capacities.
After a successful POC and several weeks of testing on different environments and use cases, it became obvious that Veeam was the most appropriate solution. A decision which was motivated in part by the agnostic and non-intrusive aspect of the solution, which did not require the deployment of agents on virtual machines and, therefore, avoided polluting the customers IT environment. It was also important to be able to rely on sandbox environments for regular testing in order to perform safety and compliance audits in connection with new certifications obtained by the group.
Thanks to Veeam, AKKA Technologies now has a powerful tool that is capable of following the evolution of its virtualization system. “The flexibility of Veeam is key to our business. Until then, we wasted a lot of time reinstalling backup agents on all VMs each time we upgraded our VMware or Hyper-V versions. On the customer side, the solution is totally seamless: Veeam’s agnostic nature helps to not overcomplicate VM deliveries”.
Veeam also provided a significant time reduction of backup windows from several days to only a few hours for larger volumes, 18 times faster than the previous solution. IT is now able to meet the backup and recovery objectives set in the SLAs. The teams have also been able to free up time that is now being devoted to other tasks such as improving internal systems or other higher added value activities such as infrastructure design or architecture.
From planning and backup operations monitoring to reporting and instant recovery features, Veeam also offers unparalleled administrative simplicity, making it easy to identify failures very quickly and resolve them simply, due to the automatic resolution suggestions, without the need to contact Veeam. Bruno Ispa adds, “The ease of use of the product means that my teams do not need any training for the solution, as it does not require any particular knowledge. This is a huge time saver and a very positive point.”
Based on the excellent results of the solution, AKKA Technologies extended Veeam’s scope across the Group. One of the main regions being AKKA Germany, who are now working with car manufacturers to help invent ‘Driver Assistance Systems for autonomous driving. “Since implementing the solution, we have been reassured in our initial choice of Veeam and in our decision to deploy and extend the scope of the solution to the entire group. The solution is now the standard for VMs,” concludes Bruno Ispa.
Founded in 1984, AKKA Technologies is the European leader in engineering and R&D consulting, specialising in the mobility sector. The company employs more than 16,000 employees spread across 50 sites in over 20 countries, including about 20 sites in France. With a turnover of €1.3 billion in 2017, the group supports the main European industrial groups, particularly in the automotive, aeronautics, rail, energy, telecoms and defence sectors – including major brands such as Airbus Group, Alstom, BMW, Daimler, GlaxoSmithKline, Renault, Safran, Thales, Volkswagen and Volvo.
To help achieve the group’s ambitions to invent leading-edge innovative projects such as airport video surveillance, aeroplane maintenance and natural disaster prevention, AKKA Technologies needed up-to-date, secure and available data across its worldwide operations.