The Business Challenge
Sonova AG is present in more than 90 countries and has a workforce of more than 7,000 employees. Two data centers in Switzerland support the entire organization. More than 90 percent of these data centers are virtualized with VMware. This includes nearly 450 virtual machines (VMs) and roughly 15-20 Dell PowerEdge servers.
When Ed Czerwin, senior systems engineer, joined Sonova, one of his first assignments was to fix the backup process. “Growing heavily over time, the backup process became slow and unreliable,” he explained. “We started a full weekly backup on Thursday evenings, and it didn’t finish until the following Monday or Tuesday— that’s if it didn’t fail in the meantime. Furthermore, none of the jobs was staggered properly, which meant backup data was saturating our line, resulting in a slow connection for users.”
Yet another problem with the backup process was that it didn’t involve deduplication or compression. “The amount of company data was growing fast,” Ed said. “We knew incremental image-level backups would solve this issue, so we began looking for a new solution that would consolidate the backup process, shorten the backup window, improve RTO, and save on space needed for backups. In addition, the operations staff was spending at least one hour each day monitoring backups, and we knew there were better ways for them to spend their time.”
The Veeam Solution
After comparing disaster recovery solutions, Sonova chose Veeam Backup & Replication.
“Our backup speed has increased 80 percent with Veeam, which has definitely shortened the backup window,” Ed said. “A full weekly backup used to take up to 120 hours and spill over into the next work week, but Veeam is so fast and reliable that a full weekly backup now takes less than 24 hours. This means employees don’t have to deal with slow connections on Monday mornings and can be more productive.”
Veeam Backup & Replication leverages advanced functionality in VMware vSphere, including thin-provisioned disks, which enables faster full backups of VMs. Veeam also leverages changed block tracking for faster incremental backups.
“We have one application that must be backed up hourly,” Ed explained. “The recovery process used to take up to 24 hours, which is not good with regard to RTO. With Veeam Backup & Replication, we’re able to achieve a 30-minute RTO.”
Sonova has reduced storage costs with Veeam too. When performing backups of multiple VMs, Veeam Backup & Replication deduplicates similar blocks inside the backup file, reducing disk space requirements for backups. “Not only does Veeam save us money in storage costs, it also saves us time,” Ed added. “Since it is so reliable, the operations staff no longer has to monitor backups. This saves about an hour each day and lets them focus on other important projects.”
Increases backup speed by 80 percent
Before Veeam Backup & Replication was implemented, weekly full backups took up to 120 hours to complete, spilling into the next work week and slowing down the company’s network, which adversely affected employees’ productivity. Now the backup window is less than 24 hours.
Improves RTO by 98 percent
One particular application requires an hourly backup, and the recovery process used to take up to 24 hours. Now it takes 30 minutes with Veeam. This is because Veeam Backup & Replication leverages changed block tracking in vSphere, resulting in faster incremental backups.
Reduces storage costs each year
Veeam Backup & Replication reduces disk space requirements for backups, saving Sonova money in storage costs each year.