The Integration Services (IT) team at RM focuses on the point where technology and education meet: It hosts integration environments for education software developers. The entire IT environment is virtualized. This includes 32 Dell 2950 servers hosting more than 1,000 virtual machines. The company worked closely with Prolinx Limited, one of the UK’s leading IT systems integrators, to implement the VMware ESX solution.
Following the installation of VMware, Simon Picken, RM’s Build Team Leader, and his colleagues approached Prolinx for help in choosing a backup system. “We tested a few on our own at first,” he explained. “But they didn’t do what they promised to do or they were complex and expensive. So we provided Prolinx with several requirements, and they continued testing more products on our behalf.”
Andrew Corrigan, Prolinx Account Manager, said RM’s requirements were straightforward. The most important were reliability, manageability, and cost. “Differential or incremental backups weren’t an option for RM,” he said. “Instead, they needed a reliable solution that backed up an entire integration environment overnight. If the backup failed, their projects would be delayed, and that is very costly.”
Simon said before he and his colleagues implemented Veeam Backup & Replication, they used another product. However, each backup or restore cost an additional 20 percent of their time dealing with the fallout from failed backups. “Now that we use Veeam, we no longer have to waste nearly half a day repeating failed backups,” he explained.
Andrew said RM also wanted to reduce the overall time spent making backups and restores. “Veeam cut the time in half,” he said. “What once took them eight hours now takes four.”
Another important requirement that RM gave to Prolinx was the ability to automate the creation of virtual machines.
“When we provide a new integration environment to a project, a developer will also want to use it to develop the next generation of software,” Simon explained. “Rather than rebuilding it, we make a copy. Making a copy of 30 to 50 virtual machines isn’t easy because you have to back up the machines and then create and restore new VMs. With the old backup product, it took us two to three days to accomplish this task because we had to rebuild each virtual machine in the new environment. With Veeam, it only takes half a day. In addition, we can run Veeam in the background while we multitask, which means we use half the human resources we used to.”
Andrew said another key requirement was cost. “Our goal was to find a cost-effective solution for RM that was also straightforward and easy to manage. Several of the products we tested were costly, cumbersome, and provided poor usability. Veeam has a good, user-friendly graphical interface.”
Simon said the simple management interface gives him the ability to delegate work to the extended IT team in India. “Veeam is extremely easy to use and manage. It also integrates better with VMware than other backup products, which means any member of the team can back up and restore their particular environment with minimal training and effort.”
Guarantees reliability and eliminates time spent on failed backups - Before RM implemented Veeam Backup & Replication, the IT team spent an additional 20 percent of its time dealing with the fallout from failed backups. Now that team members use Veeam Backup & Replication, they have recouped that time, and they no longer waste nearly half a day repeating failed backups.
Increases backup and restore speed by 50 percent - What used to take the IT team eight hours now takes four.
Automates the creation of virtual machines in less than half the time - Before the IT team implemented Veeam Backup & Replication, it took two to three days to copy 30 to 50 virtual machines. Now it takes half a day with Veeam. In addition, Veeam can be left unattended to complete the tasks, which team members couldn’t do with the previous product. That means they can multitask and save on human resources.