The Business Challenge
When attorneys deliver oral arguments in court, they need their facts and figures at their fingertips. They rely on their law firm’s IT team to provide 24x7 access to what they need. If team members can’t guarantee access to data because of unreliable backup and recovery of virtualized applications and data, their colleagues will not be happy, nor will the attorneys’ clients.
That’s an over-simplified way of explaining how vitally important data protection and disaster recovery (DR) are in the legal sector, but it’s a scenario that keeps many IT teams up at night, except for the team at Boekel De Nerée.
Boekel’s IT team is resourceful and pragmatic. Just a few people run the IT infrastructure, which supports 220 users and is 95% virtualised with 128 virtual machines (VMs). Because the team is small, it must optimize processes, including VM backup and recovery, and resources, such as Microsoft System Center.
There was a time when team members struggled to deliver reliable VM backup and recovery. They were managing several backup tools at once, and not one enabled them to verify the recoverability of backups. A few of the tools didn’t support a multi-hypervisor environment, which was problematic because the IT team was thinking about adding Hyper-V VMs in the future.
“Hyper-V support was a major point for us,” said Patrick van der Knaap, System Engineer at Boekel. “We didn’t want to invest in a backup solution that didn’t provide multi-hypervisor support, otherwise we’d be in the same position in a few years—looking for a new solution.”
Team members also had limited monitoring and reporting in their VMware environment. Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) monitored the health and performance of everything from physical servers to individual applications, but it didn’t provide deep visibility into the team’s vSphere hosts, VMs, the backup infrastructure or any of the associated hardware, storage and network resources.
“Because we didn’t have full VMware integration in SCOM, we were unsure why some situations happened, such as a Windows server failing,” van der Knaap said. “We didn’t have the alerts we needed to be proactive. We also didn’t have monitoring and reporting for our backup infrastructure, which left us wondering about resource consumption.”
Team members had two goals: Provide reliable backup and recovery to ensure high availability of data for their colleagues and obtain visibility into vSphere and their backup infrastructure so they could proactively resolve issues and manage IT resources. They wanted to trade in their multiple backup consoles for a single console, and they wanted to add deep VMware and backup infrastructure integration to their SCOM console.
The team tested a number of products to achieve its two goals.
The Veeam Solution
Boekel’s IT team chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ to back up and recover VMs and Veeam Management Pack (MP) for VMware™ to monitor and report on the virtual environment.
“Veeam Backup & Replication is the only solution that lets us verify the recoverability of backups, recover instantly and test upgrades in an isolated environment before putting them in production,” van der Knaap said. “Veeam MP is the only solution to properly integrate VMware and our backup infrastructure in SCOM. We also found Veeam MP to be the only solution to send alerts via text. There was no contest. Of all the products we tested, the Veeam solutions have the most helpful features and are the easiest to use.”
Veeam Backup & Replication provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup and recovery of virtualised applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. In addition to multi-hypervisor support, Veeam has two features that are particularly helpful to Boekel’s IT team: SureBackup® to verify the recoverability of every backup and Instant VM Recovery® to restore a VM from a failed backup in minutes.
Veeam Backup & Replication creates and manages an isolated Virtual Lab for the IT team, and that’s where SureBackup tests the recoverability of every backup. The team also uses Virtual Lab to test software patches and updates before deploying them in production.
Veeam Backup & Replication also enables Boekel to create copies of backups for remote backup repositories, which serves as the company’s interim DR strategy while its second datacentre is being built. Eventually team members will use Veeam to replicate VMs between datacenters for DR. They also have the option of replicating VMs on-site for high availability.
Boekel also uses Veeam MP, which extends deep VMware and backup infrastructure monitoring, management and capacity planning to SCOM. Veeam MP gives team members a unified view of their physical and virtual environments through a single pane of glass, enabling them to find and fix issues before they become problems.
“When Veeam MP detects an issue, it sends an alert via email and text that provides detailed information to help us proactively resolve the issue,” van der Knaap said. “For example, we depend on alarms to tell us when the datastore level is getting low. We either extend storage or move resources to other areas before the situation gets critical.
We didn’t have this level of detail at the hypervisor layer before Veeam. We’re a small team, so we need all the information possible to manage proactively and save time.”
Verifies recoverability of backups and provides instant restore
Two features in Veeam Backup & Replication enable Boekel’s IT team to ensure high availability of data for attorneys. SureBackup automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup, and Instant VM Recovery lets the team recover a VM in three minutes. Before Veeam, recovering a VM took three hours.
Integrates monitoring and reporting of physical, virtual and backup infrastructures in Microsoft System Center Operations Manager for capacity planning
Veeam MP brings deep monitoring, reporting and management of VMware and the Veeam Backup & Replication infrastructure to Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, including proxy servers, repository servers and backup jobs. “We rely on Veeam MP for detailed information about backup windows, how much data is being backed up and how much backup storage is required so we know what resources to request in the next budget,” van der Knapp said.
Offers deep visibility through a single pane of glass, enabling proactive issue resolution
With a unified view of their physical and virtual infrastructures and applications, people on the IT team can find and fix problems fast. Working together, Veeam MP and Microsoft System Center provide true app-to-metal visibility.