The Business Challenge
The Arkema European data centre, based in Lyon (Pierre-Bénite), accounts for 75% of all servers in the group. Divided across two separate sites, the data centre hosts several applications that are used around the world. Equipment and solutions are selected on a global scale that includes 540 physical servers and 870 virtual servers, primarily VMware and Hyper-V. Virtualization was rolled out in 2008 after a short and successful pilot phase. During the test period, Arkema appraised and evaluated virtual infrastructure-specific backup solutions for performance, ease of use, strong integration with VMware and cost. Veeam® Backup & Replication™ unanimously met all requirements, while traditional backup tools failed to demonstrate sufficient maturity.
The Veeam Solution
Veeam Backup & Replication, Enterprise version, was deployed in the Arkema European data centre, which backs up data from 380 VMware virtual servers. With about 35 virtual servers per physical server, the virtualization ratio at Arkema is high.
“Although some expressed concerns in 2008, virtualization is now accepted by everyone and has become our default solution,” said Bertrand Sève, Server Infrastructure Manager at the Arkema Group. “The application administrators in particular, who were initially reluctant, very quickly saw the benefits of this new technology, and, above all, they saw performance improvements in high availability.”
Very simple to install and use, the Veeam tool allows technical teams to become immediately operational. “Every new addition to the team instantly adapts to the Veeam tool, unlike other backup solutions that are often more complicated to understand,” said Sève.
Every day, Veeam Backup & Replication backs up a server volume of 30 tons of data. To prevent an incident in the main data centre, all of the most critical virtual machines (VMs) are replicated to an identical infrastructure and are ready to be started if needed.
Data is cross-replicated between two production data centres approximately 15 km apart, with the full server load distributed. The backup server for each site replicates data that is automatically deduplicated on the other site’s backup server via an inter- room FC network.
Backup and replication administration is carried out from a central console located at one of the two data centres. In this context of distributed architecture, the same console allows quick and easy transfer of a backup from one data centre to the other, and enables one site to take over a backup job from the other, if necessary.
The performance of Veeam Backup & Replication is at the heart of Arkema’s satisfaction. Backup and restore operations do not produce any downtime or reduction in server activity. Integrated data deduplication reduces the backup volume, which facilitates quick replication via an inter-room FC network, and considerably decreases bandwidth and storage resource requirements. Veeam Backup & Replication allows a complete VM or an individual object on the VM to be quickly restored from a backup file.
“An incident on one of our print servers confirmed the reliability of Veeam’s replication functions. The identically replicated server started in just a few minutes, taking over from the nominal server,” said Sève.
Veeam Backup & Replication provides daily reports of the status of backup jobs, and also generates alerts that indicate faults or execution errors. In addition, Arkema uses the advanced functionalities of Veeam Reporter™ to publish monthly reports that monitor developments in the performance of the virtual infrastructure and plan resources. Trend analysis and recommendations allow investments in new resources such as memory, disks, servers and infrastructure development to be anticipated and justified.
Going forward, with the launch of Veeam Backup & Replication version 6, Hyper-V, servers in all plants that are backed up via a third-party backup tool will be protected by Veeam, Arkema’s goal is to streamline all of its backup tools.