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Capfin Credits Veeam with Protecting Exploding Data

The Business Challenge

Capfin is synonymous with fast, easy cash. As one of the fastest growing financial services companies in South Africa, Capfin processes thousands of loan applications each month through a call centre that operates six days a week and employs approximately 750 people.

Capfin created its own loan-processing software, enabling developers to fine tune the application and maximise efficiency for high volumes of data. The software runs on six VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) that are backed up daily, resulting in 14TB of loan data that grows by 800GB per month. Capfin backs up another 7TB of back-office data on VMs running Microsoft SQL Server. SQL Server also runs most of the logic layer of the loan-processing software. Capfin is in the middle of a data explosion.

Capfin operates in a fully virtualised, paper-free environment that cannot afford any downtime or data loss. If VMs running loan software fail, call centre employees can’t do their jobs. If the VMs running SQL Server fail, back-office employees can’t complete the majority of their work, such as billing, which directly impacts revenue. VM backup and recovery must be fast and reliable. When the legacy backup tool began to falter with growing data, Capfin’s IT team took action.

“Backup to tape was taking 48 hours, and recovery could take hours or days,” said Andrew Connelly, IT Operations Manager at Capfin. “For example, if our SQL environment were to fail, our company could be offline for days as we restored from tape, which could massively affect revenue. We never want to experience a situation like that, so we needed to switch to disk-based backup for fast recovery.”

Capfin consulted its trusted partner, First Technology, one of South Africa’s leading single-source providers of IT solutions and services. First Technology advisors acknowledged Capfin’s requirements (fast, easy backup and recovery) and recommended Veeam® Backup Management Suite™. Advisors explained that Veeam would protect Capfin’s exploding data and provide additional value by assisting the IT team in managing the virtualised environment through monitoring, reporting and capacity planning.

“We’ve worked with First Technology for a long time, and their recommendations are always spot on,” Connelly said. “I have used Veeam in the past, but only for replication. We were ready for fast backup and recovery, and we considered monitoring, reporting and capacity planning a bonus.”

The Veeam Solution

Veeam Software and Capfin have a lot in common. Both are among the fastest growing companies in their industries, and both dominate their markets by striving to achieve “fast, easy backup and recovery” and “fast, easy cash.” With Veeam Backup Management Suite, Capfin avoids costly downtime and mitigates the risk of data loss.

Veeam helps Capfin back up 21TB of data on 80 VMs each day to an onsite storage area network (SAN). Veeam backup is faster than the legacy tool, taking 24 hours rather than 48 hours. Capfin also uses Veeam to copy backup files to tape, enabling fast tracking of VMs and their restore points and simplifying recovery for long-term, large data retention. In addition to cutting Capfin’s backup window in half, Veeam Backup Management Suite eliminated the IT team’s biggest fear—recovering failed VMs running loan software and SQL Server. If they fail, Veeam will restart each VM from a backup in minutes with a feature called Instant VM Recovery®. Veeam also restores individual files and application items in minutes.

“If we detect a problem in our SQL environment, it’s actually faster for us to restore the VMs with Veeam rather than investigate and troubleshoot the problem,” Connelly said. “If we want to identify what changes have been made in our production environment that may have affected our SQL VMs, we use Veeam’s On-Demand Sandbox for testing and troubleshooting. Veeam changed the way we look at our virtualized environment.”

Veeam changed the way Capfin manages its virtual environment too. Veeam Backup Management Suite provides complete visibility of backup and virtual infrastructures, advanced monitoring of backup jobs and resources, real-time reporting and detailed documentation of backup status, performance, availability and utilisation. “Veeam monitoring helps us identify and resolve issues quickly,” Connelly said. “When we noticed slow performance in our VMware farm, our systems administrator ran a report and quickly ruled out physical hosts. It turned out to be a network problem. He said it was faster and easier for him to check network usage on VMware hosts with Veeam rather than using the native monitoring console.”

Veeam’s capacity planning capabilities help Capfin as well.

“We back up to an older SAN, and Veeam helps us see when our backup storage capacity is dwindling,” Connelly explained. “We simply add more disks to the SAN and avoid a problem. Veeam makes everything so simple.”

The Results

Cuts backup time in half; backups are copied to tape for offsite storage
Before Capfin deployed Veeam Backup Management Suite, backup to tape took 48 hours. With Veeam, backup to disk takes 24 hours. Capfin makes good use of its tape library by copying Veeam backups to tape for archiving. For Capfin, tape is the best option for long-term, offsite storage of large data sets.

Decreases recovery time regardless of data explosion
If VMs fail that run Capfin’s proprietary loan software and SQL Server, employees can’t do their jobs. Fast recovery is the only option for Capfin to ensure high availability of applications and keep the business running. Veeam’s instant recovery of VMs, files and individual items covers virtually every recovery scenario.

Provides complete visibility and control of backup infrastructure
Veeam Backup Management Suite gives Capfin complete visibility of its backup infrastructure through integrated monitoring, advanced alerting and automated reporting. With complete visibility, Capfin identifies and resolves issues in its backup infrastructure quickly and knows ahead of time when backup disks are getting full. Veeam also analyzes usage trends and offers provisioning recommendations for capacity planning.

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Southern View Finance UK Ltd t/a Capfin (Capfin) is a registered credit provider specialising in technology-driven, cost-effective and accessible financial services for the mass market. Capfin earns most of its revenue by providing unsecured personal loans to customers through PEP and ACKERMANS retail outlets across South Africa.


As the Capfin business was booming, data began to explode. Downtime due to slow recovery of VMs running loan software, Microsoft SQL Server and the voice server is not acceptable to the business.


  • Cuts backup time in half; backups are copied to tape for offsite storage
  • Decreases recovery time regardless of data explosion
  • Provides complete visibility and control of backup infrastructure

About First Technology:

First Technology provides IT solutions and support services to businesses and organisations of all sizes and in every industry. With 11 distribution points across South Africa and 25,000 brandname product lines, First Technology reduces clients’ risk of deploying new technologies with a competitive total cost of IT ownership, providing them with a compelling return on investment.
Please rate how helpful this article was to you:
4.2 out of 5 based on 20 ratings
Thank you for helping us improve!
An error occurred during voting. Please try again later.