Like many organizations, DCCCD is pushing its IT infrastructure toward server virtualization. In fact, Matthew Knapp, Network Systems Specialist for DCCCD, and his team have reduced the physical server footprint by 70 percent. Now they have 250 virtual machines (VMs) running on 16 VMware ESXi servers.
Unfortunately, Knapp and his team had problems assessing the performance of so many VMs. “Using the VMware client was too difficult because it required us to switch back and forth between VMs, which meant I could never see all the VMs in one place,” he explained. “What I really wanted was to categorize and view the VMs by business unit so I could measure their performance, reallocate resources, or move storage.”
Knapp and the team also experienced problems each time they backed up the virtual machines. “At that time, we were doing conventional backups with agents inside the VMs. When the backup process kicked in at 6 p.m. each day, all the agents hit the VMs at the same time and bogged down the ESX servers,” he said. “I needed a way to perform backups without affecting the performance of the VMs themselves.”
Knapp and his colleagues began looking for innovative systems management software to safeguard DCCCD’s investment in its virtual infrastructure.
DCCCD installed virtualization management tools from Veeam Software to better monitor and manage the virtual infrastructure.
Now Knapp and the team use Veeam Monitor to give them a performance overview of all VMware machines. “I can look at the top hosts and click into a VM to see exactly what it’s doing,” he explained. “I can also look at resources via Veeam Monitor without having to go into the VMware client, which has saved me a lot of time.”
The team also uses Veeam Business View, a free add-on that is fully integrated with Veeam Monitor, to categorize and monitor groups of servers. “We group servers by category within each business unit, such as email servers, file servers, and test servers,” he said. “This lets us see how those machines perform per business unit, and this helps us decide if we need to reallocate resources or move storage to support the needs of the district.
Knapp said the benefits of Veeam Monitor coupled with Veeam Business View are straightforward. “First, Business View is simple to set up and deploy. It gives me a really thorough overview of mission-critical servers grouped together in the way I want to view them. Second, if there is a problem with VMware, Veeam Business View and Veeam Monitor will help me identify it and respond to it quickly. Third, multiple colleagues can access Business View to see the same reports I see, which saves me a significant amount of time. It used to take me one to two hours to sort through a client, grab screenshots, create customized reports, and explain them to my colleagues. Now I can do it in 10 to 15 minutes because of Business View.”
In addition to Veeam Monitor and Veeam Business View, DCCCD uses Veeam Backup & Replication. “Conventional backups just didn’t work for us,” Knapp explained. “All the agents hit the VMs at the same time and bogged down the ESXi servers,” he said. “We had an email server that took 12 hours to back up, but with Veeam, it takes 1.5 hours. That’s a big difference in time and effort.”
Provides overview of mission-critical servers grouped by business unit
Simple to set up, deploy, and use, Veeam Business View provides DCCCD with an overview of mission-critical servers grouped together within each business unit. Veeam Monitor helps Joe determine whether he should reallocate resources or move storage.
Reduces troubleshooting time and effort by 87 percent
Since Knapp’s colleagues have access to Veeam Business View, the time he spent creating reports has decreased by 87 percent. What used to take one to two hours (sorting through a VMware client to get screenshots, creating customized reports, and explaining them colleagues) now takes 10 to15 minutes with Business View. “You don’t even have to know much about VMware to understand these reports,” he said. “They are easy to retrieve and navigate.”
Increases backup speed by 88 percent
It used to take Knapp and the team 12 hours to back up one particular email server. With Veeam Backup & Replication, the same process takes less than 20 minutes