CITIC Telecom International CPC Limited (“CITIC Telecom CPC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of CITIC Telecom International Holdings Limited (SEHK: 1883), serves multinational enterprises the world over by addressing their specific ICT requirements with highly scalable tailored solutions built upon the company’s flagship technology suites comprising TrueCONNECT™ private network services, TrustCSI™ information security solutions, DataHOUSE™ global unified cloud data center solutions, and SmartCLOUD™ cloud computing solutions. Employing around 1,000 staff, it serves enterprise and mid-market businesses, including many Fortune 500, across a number of industries, from financial services, manufacturing to logistics.
Looking to improve its internal data availability without a huge cost increase, CITIC Telecom CPC needed an availability solution that enabled its system to scale and capable of disaster recovery.
Veeam’s solution worked so well in its internal virtualization project that CITIC Telecom CPC decided to leverage its SmartCLOUD™ platform to offer cloud backup services, branded as SmartCLOUD™ BRR (Backup, Replication and Recovery), to help keep customers’ business data available.
In 2010, CITIC Telecom CPC, a leading ICT solution provider, was experiencing a dramatic increase in business data and email communications, and needed to improve its internal data backup and recovery process to ensure data availability without a significant increase in cost. Without high availability of its systems and data, it would not be able to provide continuous and high the level of service that its end customers have always expected.
It also wanted to centralize its data backup and recovery management on a single platform for supporting all internal systems. Planning for the future, it was seeking an availability solution that uses innovative backup technology, and which could meet its disaster recovery and system scalability needs.
“I did some research and found Veeam® used the snapshot technology to do the backup. At the time it was a very new concept and new idea that no one had thought about. We started using it straight away,” said Daniel Kwong, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of CITIC Telecom International CPC Limited.
The Veeam Backup and Replication™ system was deployed to backup internal VMware infrastructure in Hong Kong and China. To CITIC Telecom CPC, Veeam was simple to set up and operate, and leveraged on VMware API and best practices.
With Veeam Backup and Replication™, CITIC Telecom CPC’s backup time was 80 times faster, reduced from 20 hours to just 15 minutes.
It used to require multiple servers for multiple jobs, but Veeam helped the business reduce space. The original close to 50 racks of servers, which occupied almost two rooms of the data center, were reduced to only six racks. Storage space has been cut by almost 90% compared to the previous traditional backup it was using, which did not have de-duplication or compression.
The results of the internal platform virtualization with Veeam were so good that CITIC Telecom CPC decided to turn its in-house cloud platform and experience into a service for its customers – using the Veeam technology to provide backup services to cloud customers.
Its product is called SmartCLOUD™ BRR (Backup, Replication and Recovery). Customers can choose whether to backup locally or remotely to a disaster recovery site.
“When we started our new cloud backup business, almost 70% of our cloud service customers said they needed some sort of backup in their cloud. So we started to offer a free remote backup if they set up a disaster recovery site, and things have gone from strength to strength since then.”
“We try to persuade them to have an off-site backup due to security reasons, such as ransomware. We tell our customers, and then later on, you can just click a button and revive it.
“If our customers have the Hyper-V, they can wire, hard connect technology into our platform and just do the backup.”
CITIC Telecom CPC offers cloud services via 15 different cloud service centers across the world. Customers can choose which cloud service center they want to upload their workloads and backup for their disaster recovery.
Kwong says if a customer wants one more copy in another city, it is an easy process by just pressing a button and then another copy is created.
Providing backup and disaster recovery in the cloud was a logical next step and a perfect complement to CITIC Telecom CPC’s complete virtualized solution. “Veeam has been very helpful setting up a new cloud connect platform for us and also working with the customers to explain to them how we use their service.”
CITIC Telecom CPC is the first cloud service provider in Asia Pacific to offer Virtual to Cloud Backup service empowered by Veeam Cloud Connect. It currently backs up around 1,000 VMs (approximately 250 TB) of data internally and for customers.
Kwong says it is quite important to have a technology partner like Veeam to support its backend. “Most of our customers when they actually put their workload into a cloud service provider, they are very worried about how their data is being protected or whether they have any backup.
“One of our major advantages is when our customers set up the Veeam backup into our platform. We have staff daily reviewing whether their backup has completed successfully or not.” Kwong explains a common problem when backups are conducted in-house is that people simply forget to check whether or not it worked. “As a service provider we do the checking for them. It’s our job to do it.”
Veeam has provided CITIC Telecom CPC with the business case to up-sell connectivity to customers. “When our customers are talking about their needs to build backups in another country or city, that actually requires a lot of connectivity services. That helps us to provide a more “sticky” solution to our customers.”