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Veeam and AWS help Best Friends Animal Society keep pets alive

The business challenge

When Best Friends was established in 1984, 17 million pets were killed in shelters each year. By 2019, that number had decreased by 96% to 773,000.

Best Friends’ goal is to reduce the number to zero by 2025 by growing its network of more than 2,500 animal welfare partners across all 50 states. Best Friends provides them with information about how to transform their adoption processes and knowledge about how to run effective adoption campaigns. They, in turn, share their adoption data with Best Friends, which uses predictive analytics to determine where to transfer homeless animals so they’re more likely to be adopted.

For example, adoption centers in Oregon and northern California frequently run out of adoptable cats, but southern California has an abundance of kittens born each spring. Best Friends transports the kittens to northern California and Oregon for adoption. 

“Data is such an important part of our work, so that means we must protect data to protect lives,” said Brent Bain, Lead Cloud Engineer at Best Friends. “One way we’re protecting data is by migrating our technology headquarters in Kanab, Utah, to AWS. We’re doing this because a single fiber connection fed through a single Internet service provider serves the entire city of Kalb, including our organization. If there’s a fiber cut, everything goes dark.” 

While most technology is being migrated to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), life-saving veterinary applications and digital X-ray and bloodwork systems are staying in Kalb because they must be readily accessible. Veeam® Backup & Replication™ has been backing up and replicating them on-premises since 2011 and had been sending copies to a colocation facility for DR and BC. 

“There were three challenges with the colocation facility,” Bain said. “Even though it was 90 miles from Kalb, it was prone to torrential monsoons and flooding just like Kalb, putting our data at risk if both areas flooded. Another problem was we weren’t following the 3-2-1 Rule because we only had two backups, not three. The third challenge was cost. Paying for the colocation facility was expensive — $42,000 per year. We knew that money could be used to save additional lives.”

The Veeam solution

Best Friends expanded its use of Veeam to save more animals’ lives. 

In addition to backing up and replicating Best Friends’ lifesaving veterinary applications and digital X-ray and bloodwork systems on-premises (800 GBs across 60 VMware vSphere virtual machines), Veeam also sends copies to a second site on premises and to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for long-term data retention, thus fulfilling the 3-2-1 Rule.

An automatic tiering feature called Veeam Cloud Tier provides the conduit to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), enabling Best Friends to strengthen the DR and BC strategy. If the on-premises data center in Kalb is flooded, Best Friends can use Veeam Direct Restore to AWS to restore from Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to its Salt Lake City adoption center or to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Since the colocation facility is no longer needed, Best Friends saves $42,000 each year.

“Thanks to Veeam Could Data Management and our integration with AWS, we have a highly successful, scalable and cost-effective DR and BC solution, allowing us to focus on our mission of saving pets,” Bain said. “More than 4,100 dogs and cats are killed each day in animal shelters because they don’t have homes. Veeam and AWS are helping us save their lives through adoption.” 

Best Friends also knows where to transport adoptable pets because of predictive analytics. The $42,000 Veeam saved was used to purchase another data lake in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for additional predictive analytics. The new data lake will let Best Friends break down more data and combine different types of analytics to gain additional insights and make better decisions. 

“We’re gathering even more data from shelters to improve adoption rates,” Bain said. “Veeam Cloud Data Management™ and AWS are helping us achieve our goal of a no-kill nation by 2025.” 

The results

Protects the critical data and applications that save pets’ lives
Best Friends uses Veeam to back up and replicate life-saving veterinary applications and digital X-ray and bloodwork systems on-premises for quick restore. Veeam Cloud Tier sends copies to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for longterm data retention as well as quick restore. Protecting this data ensures homeless animals receive medical attention so they can be adopted. 

Improves the DR and BC strategy by supporting the 3-2-1 Rule
“We didn’t have a comprehensive DR and BC strategy until we expanded our use of Veeam,” Bain said. “Veeam Direct Restore to AWS saves data and pets’ lives.”

 Saves $42,000, enabling the purchase of a new data lake for predictive analytics
“Purchasing a new data lake lets us get even more granular with predictive analytics,” Bain said. “We can focus our efforts on specific states, helping drive the no-kill number to zero by 2025.”

Best Friends Animal Society
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Company:

Best Friends Animal Society is the only nationwide animal welfare organization focused exclusively on stopping the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as lifesaving programs in collaboration with its nationwide network of members and partners. Established in Utah in 1984, Best Friends employs 900 people and operates pet adoption centers and spay/neuter clinics in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City and Salt Lake City. 

Challenge:

An essential part of Best Friends’ success is protecting data, especially data in lifesaving veterinary applications and digital X-ray and bloodwork systems. Veeam has been backing up and replicating them up onpremises since 2011 and had been sending copies to a colocation facility for disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC). However, there were three challenges associated with the colocation facility: It was located in an area prone to monsoons and flooding, it didn’t support the 3-2-1 Rule (3 backups on 2 different media with 1 backup being off-premises), and it was expensive, costing $42,000 each year. 

Results:

  • Protects the critical data and applications that save pets’ lives
  • Improves the DR and BC strategy by supporting the 3-2-1 Rule
  • Saves $42,000, enabling the purchase of a new data lake for predictive analytics
Best Friends Animal Society
Please rate how helpful this article was to you:
5 out of 5 based on 8 ratings
Thank you for helping us improve!
An error occurred during voting. Please try again later.