Barloworld Automotive’s business units target very different markets, yet all customers have one thing in common: Barloworld Automotive meets their transportation needs, from renting cars to fleet management to vehicle sales.
“Our three business units rely on a shared IT infrastructure to support their operations,” said Brian Smith, Operations Manager of IT Shared Services at Barloworld Automotive. “If key business systems aren’t available 24x7, we risk not meeting customer delivery expectations.”
Smith provided three examples to clarify the enterprise’s need for 24x7 availability.
“If your plane arrives at the airport at 2 a.m. and you need to rent a car, our booking engine must be up and running, or you’ll rent from another company. If your business wants control of its fleet’s toll spend, including the E-Toll system, our systems have to be available around the clock. And if you go to our web site to request an accident repair estimate and see an error page rather than a submission form, you might take your car to a different motor shop.”
Rather than risk these scenarios, Barloworld Automotive chose a proactive route.
“We knew we had to replace our legacy backup tool as it didn’t meet our business needs,” Smith said. “We operate 24x7, so our 7,000 internal clients need access to critical systems on the same basis. It’s difficult to provide 24x7 availability and meet service level agreements (SLAs) when your backup no longer completes within the provided backup window. The legacy backup tool no longer met the demands of the business and growing data, which doubled in a three-year period.”
To meet the challenges of a legacy-based backup and recovery process, it became apparent that a transformation was required.
The legacy backup tool did not have built-in replication and WAN acceleration for disaster recovery (DR). To ensure availability for an always-on enterprise, the IT team required a fast and reliable way to replicate VMs in 71 branch offices to the data centre in Johannesburg. Ready-to-use replicas would enable failover and failback in case of emergency.
“The manual backup process at the branch offices had to be replaced with centralised VM management, with no intervention required at the branch office level,” Smith said.
Barloworld Automotive addressed these challenges by deploying Veeam® Availability Suite™ to enable 24x7 availability of critical systems. Veeam not only centralised VM management but also simplified recovery and improved SLA fulfillment.
“Veeam was the most suited solution for our business needs,” Smith said. “With centralised VM management, we no longer have to burden anyone in the branch offices for backup and recovery. We can achieve 24x7 availability from the data centre.”
Barloworld Automotive uses Veeam for local backup of 230 VMware vSphere VMs in the data centre and 291 Microsoft Hyper-V VMs in the branch offices to HP 3PAR StoreServ. Veeam replicates VMs in the branch offices to the data centre using Built-in WAN Acceleration, which is advantageous for branches with limited bandwidth.
From an efficiency perspective, Smith said one of the biggest benefits of using Veeam Availability Suite in a mixed-hypervisor environment is VM management under a single pane of glass.
“Veeam provides one console for backup, recovery, replication, monitoring, reporting and capacity planning,” Smith explained. “At any given time, I have a complete view of our virtual environments. I know if a backup needs to be rerun and if we have over- or under-provisioned CPU and memory. We’re proactive with capacity planning and issue resolution, not reactive.
“By replacing the legacy tool with Veeam, we saved money and time,” Smith continued. “We saved nearly 40% in cost and 120 hours each month in troubleshooting backup and recovery issues. Veeam also ‘saves the day’ every time our engineers are alerted to an issue that might have developed into a problem and impacted business operations. The functionality Veeam offers is remarkable. I would recommend Veeam to any company that is serious about virtualisation.”