The Business Challenge
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) work with vast amounts of data, and data loss can be crippling to their businesses. No one knows this better than CAMICO Mutual Insurance Company. Created by CPAs for CPAs, CAMICO requires unparalleled data protection and disaster recovery (DR).
Everything in CAMICO’s IT environment is virtualized on VMware vSphere, including all insurance and risk management applications. A fully virtualized environment was the foundation of CAMICO’s DR strategy, but the company’s IT team faced challenges with virtual machine (VM) backup. Not only was VM backup slow, it didn’t complete consistently. Unreliable backup could lead to data loss.
VM backup also put stress on production VMs, which affected their performance, and backups required too much storage. VM recovery was a challenge as well because it was time-consuming. Backups older than four weeks had to be retrieved from tape, which was located offsite.
“One of our goals was to reduce recovery time from hours to minutes by keeping more backups onsite for fast, local recovery,” said Jimmy Thai, Network Manager at CAMICO. “We also wanted to increase the number of recovery points. With a 100% virtualized environment, we needed a backup and recovery solution that was intended for virtualization, not a solution with limited product development and technical support.”
CAMICO investigated various VM backup solutions but could find only one that met its criteria: fast, reliable backup, decreased storage requirements, improved recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs) and an architecture that had been designed for virtualization.
The Veeam Solution
CAMICO uses Veeam® Availability Suite™ to back up VMs locally for fast recovery and to replicate VMs offsite for DR. Veeam Availability Suite also provides comprehensive monitoring, reporting and capacity planning for CAMICO’s virtual and backup infrastructures.
Not only did Veeam backup remove overhead and stress from CAMICO’s production VMs, the solution provided several additional benefits. Veeam reduced the daily backup window from 24 hours to 5.5 hours, decreased recovery time from 36 hours to 10 minutes, improved onsite backup storage retention from four weeks of 10 TB to four months of 5.25 TB, and Veeam increased restore points from 48 points to 365 points per year.
“Veeam simplified backup and DR for us, beginning with easy installation,” Thai said. “Veeam is easy to use too, which is important for a small IT team like ours because everyone needs to be able to operate Veeam. We also like that Veeam is hardware agnostic because we don’t want to be tied to specific storage. And, we think that Veeam being agentless is awesome. We were tired of installing agents in VMs, and we know agents were one of the reasons that our backups failed in the past.”
Veeam simplified recovery too. Recovery capabilities include Instant VM Recovery®, which restarts a failed VM from a backup in minutes, and Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange and Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint, which provide instant visibility into backups for fast recovery of individual items.
When a CAMICO employee accidentally deleted a folder containing 10 years of financial data, he panicked, but someone on the IT team (and Veeam) came to the rescue. The team member reviewed the last seven days of backup files, identified the most recent version of the folder and restored it—all in four minutes with Veeam’s Instant File-Level Recovery.
“Before Veeam, recovering that file from tape would have taken at least one day, maybe two,” Thai said. “And, before Veeam, if the employee hadn’t been able to remember approximately the last time he worked on the file, we may have never been able to restore it because we wouldn’t know where to look on tape.”
Now that CAMICO has mastered backup, recovery and replication with Veeam, the IT team is beginning to see how monitoring, reporting and capacity planning benefits the company.
Before Veeam was implemented, CAMICO had monitoring and reporting, but the information provided was difficult to understand. Thai said even the software vendor’s technical support team couldn’t decipher the data.
“Veeam monitoring and reporting are completely different,” he explained. “Veeam provides us with information that we understand.”
For example, monitoring has helped team members identify and react to incidents quicker than before, and Veeam’s troubleshooting features, especially the knowledge base articles, have helped them resolve problems faster.
Additional features will be helpful including reports that map the backup and virtual infrastructures, identify unprotected VMs, track the status of backup jobs and assess performance and utilization. Veeam’s capacity planning features will help CAMICO determine backup storage requirements, consider what-if modeling scenarios and analyze trends.
Fast, consistently successful backup protects data
Before the deployment of Veeam Availability Suite at CAMICO, VM backup was slow and unreliable. With Veeam, backup is 77% faster (5.5 hours instead of 24 hours), and backup is reliable. Veeam automatically emails a backup update to the IT team each day.
Recovery time decreases from 36 hours to 10 minutes
Veeam Availability Suite provides fast, dependable recovery of virtualized applications and data. With Veeam, CAMICO can restore entire VMs, operating system files and individual application items in minutes.
Monitoring, reporting and capacity planning improve backup performance
Designed for businesses of all sizes, Veeam Availability Suite provides complete visibility of the backup and virtual infrastructures to improve performance and availability. With integrated monitoring, alerting, reporting and capacity planning, Veeam provides comprehensive management for the modern data center.