The Business Challenge
As organizations approach 100% virtualization, the easiest path to business continuity and growth is datacenter standardization. No enterprise knows this better than Helen of Troy Limited. Its substantial IT infrastructure, which contains 450+ VMware virtual machines (VMs) and is nearly 100% virtualized, is spread across 23 offices and five datacenters worldwide. With a relatively small IT staff to manage the infrastructure, Helen of Troy looked for ways to automate and streamline procedures.
In an effort to maximize hardware and software resources, simplify management and improve operational efficiencies, Helen of Troy chose Cisco UCS to deliver performance versatility and business continuity to support operations across the company. Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco UCS Central add to the efficiencies in the datacenter by streamlining management for the IT staff.
The next step was for Helen of Troy to standardize data protection and disaster recovery (DR) worldwide. The IT staff was very frustrated with its backup tool for several reasons. Backup was slow and recovery was even slower. Backups failed more than half the time, and it was difficult for the IT staff to pinpoint errors. When a backup succeeded, no one knew when it completed or how large it was.
Without reliable backup of its virtualized data and applications, Helen of Troy couldn’t meet recovery point objectives (RPOs). Without reliable recovery, it couldn’t meet recovery time objectives (RTOs) and worried about fulfilling Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements.
“We were completely disappointed in our backup tool, so we began exploring other solutions,” said Armando Gonzalez, Technical Infrastructure Director at Helen of Troy Limited. “We attended a seminar where an engineer from Veeam Software demonstrated backup and recovery. Without knowing it, he touched on solutions for every one of our concerns, including time-consuming VM recovery and not being able to restore individual items from backups of Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint. We didn’t know it then, but Veeam expertise and support would guide us well into the future.”
The Veeam Solution
Helen of Troy deployed Veeam® Backup & Replication™ in its Texas datacenter. Within one week, the IT staff agreed Veeam should be in every datacenter worldwide. Veeam Backup & Replication became the de facto standard for data protection and DR at Helen of Troy, just as Cisco UCS had become the company’s definitive datacenter platform.
Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup, recovery and replication of VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Veeam complements Helen of Troy’s converged infrastructure by saving time and reducing risk.
“The combination of Veeam Backup & Replication and Cisco UCS allows us to do what we were hired to do—innovate the IT infrastructure,” Gonzalez said. “Managing backup and recovery with Veeam and optimizing datacenter resources and processes with Cisco UCS save us countless hours and give us complete control.”
With Veeam Backup & Replication, the IT staff is 100% confident in its ability to meet RPOs and RTOs and fulfill SOX requirements. Backups complete successfully, and recovery takes minutes, not hours as it did with the previous backup tool.
“Veeam has saved the day for us, time after time,” said Wil Baca, System Administrator at Helen of Troy Limited. “When a virus affected the VM containing safety certifications for our entire product line, we feared the worst, but Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery restored the VM from a backup in minutes. When the VM running our phone system failed during a software update, we had it up and running in short order because of Veeam. Before Veeam, restoring that VM would have taken at least one day. Instant VM Recovery was helpful again when a user discovered corrupted software files. He asked how many backup points in time were available. Now he has a deep appreciation of the recovery options we offer.”
Veeam recovery has saved the day at Helen of Troy, and so has replication.
“The first time I used Veeam replication, it saved me three weeks of work,” Gonzalez explained. “I was on deadline to build a new datacenter in Mississippi, and it had to include a copy of our infrastructure in Texas for DR. Building the new datacenter went smoothly with Cisco UCS, but we lost the copy. Rebuilding the Texas servers in Mississippi would have taken roughly three weeks, and I would have missed the deadline. Instead, I used Veeam to replicate the VMs from Texas to Mississippi, which only took two days over a 2 MB line, and I wasn’t even using Veeam’s Built-in WAN Acceleration. I can’t imagine pulling this off with any other software. Veeam is absolutely amazing.”
“Ease of use is the first thing I tell people when they ask me about Veeam,” Baca said. “Veeam’s interface is so intuitive that everyone on our team uses it, giving us peace of mind everyday, even when one of us goes on vacation. Each of us can restore Exchange emails or SharePoint files quickly because Veeam makes it simple.”
Veeam simplifies management of backup and recovery for distributed infrastructures such as Helen of Troy’s. Backup proxy servers and backup repositories communicate directly with each other under the direction of a backup server. VMs are assigned to proxy servers, eliminating the need to babysit jobs and constantly tune job schedules to achieve the right level of job concurrency. Proxies can be automatically deployed and maintained, saving time. Veeam uses intelligent load balancing that accounts for virtual environment specifics and current load on the backup infrastructure, making management easy.
“Without Cisco UCS and Veeam, we’d be spending a lot more time at work,” Gonzalez said. “We work a decent number of hours each day, which is unheard of in a large company with a small IT staff. Combining Cisco UCS and Veeam Backup & Replication allows people to have lives outside of IT.”
Gonzalez and Baca stay in close touch with the Veeam engineer they met years ago. “We can call him anytime because he’s always willing to advise us,” Gonzalez said. “He and the Veeam technical support team never fail us. We’re confident there will always be knowledgeable people at Veeam to help us.”
Fast, easy backup and recovery become the de facto standard
Helen of Troy standardized data protection and DR across its enterprise with Veeam Backup & Replication. Unlike the previous backup tool, backup with Veeam works, and it’s 80% faster. Recovery with Veeam is more than 90% faster.
IT staff has 100% confidence in meeting recovery objectives and regulatory
With multiple restore points and super-fast recovery, Veeam Backup & Replication helps Helen of Troy meet RPOs and RTOs and follow SOX guidelines. The IT staff is considering Veeam’s SureBackup® and SureReplica to verify the recoverability of every backup and replica.
Complete data protection and datacenter control are rolled out worldwide
Cisco UCS maximizes hardware and software resources, simplifies management and improves operational efficiencies at Helen of Troy. Veeam Backup & Replication provides tightly integrated data protection and DR for the company’s distributed VMware environment.