The Business Challenge
Datacert provides a patented technology platform called Passport® that enables enterprise organizations to unite their legal, risk and compliance systems on a single, secure and collaborative framework. Each month, Passport processes more than half a billion dollars’ worth of invoices for Datacert’s clients. Passport is one of several critical systems in Datacert’s IT infrastructure, which is entirely virtualized on VMware vSphere and spread across two data centers.
Efficient backup, recovery and management of its virtual machines (VMs) are high priorities for Datacert to reduce financial and reputational loss due to any down time.
Datacert wanted more robust virtualization management and reporting capabilities, including in-depth reports to help the IT team proactively resolve issues. Datacert IT was utilizing Microsoft System Center 2012 to monitor the physical environment and turned to Veeam® Management Pack™ (MP) to integrate virtualization management into the System Center console.
“Ideally, we wanted a single pane of glass to monitor our physical, virtual and backup infrastructures,” said Jeff Skelton, Director of Client Cloud Computing at Datacert. “Complete visibility of our virtual environment would give us app-to-metal management.”
The Veeam Solution
Datacert liked the unified approach to monitoring its physical, virtual and backup infrastructures, so the company replaced its VMware monitoring tool with Veeam MP. A short time later, Datacert replaced its legacy backup tool, which was slow and expensive, with Veeam Backup & Replication™, which is fast and cost-effective.
Veeam MP extends System Center with deep VMware monitoring, management and capacity planning, giving Datacert an application-to-metal view of its physical and virtual environments. Veeam MP offers complete visibility of both the VMware infrastructure and the Veeam backup infrastructure so the IT team can identify relationships and dependencies among physical hosts, VMs, applications and services. The team sees immediately where issues occur and what business applications will be affected. With Veeam, Datacert proactively resolves issues and makes capacity planning decisions to ensure a healthy virtual environment—two things it couldn’t do with the legacy monitoring tool.
“Veeam MP certainly provides more in-depth reporting than our legacy tool,” Skelton said. “When MP alerted us to data store capacity issues we increased storage before running out of space. Veeam MP also alerts us to host issues, such as memory constraints, disk space and CPU utilization so we can resolve them before our clients are impacted.
“We also like the capacity planning reports in Veeam MP because they help us plan for growth and maintain good health in our VMware environment. We used these reports when we designed our new data center. They helped us determine storage allotment based on a planned increase in VMs.”
Datacert has 400 VMs in its private cloud that include VMs running infrastructure and monitoring applications for its Client Cloud Environment as well as hosted client VMs running Datacert’s Passport application. Because Veeam MP improved VM monitoring, reporting and capacity planning, Datacert deployed Veeam Backup & Replication to optimize the backup and recovery of VMs.
The benefits with Veeam Backup & Replication were immediate. Veeam backs up VMs locally at each data center to NetApp® Storage 56% faster than the legacy backup tool (60 minutes compared to 137 minutes). In addition, Veeam backups require 53% less space than legacy backups because Veeam has built-in deduplication and compression and takes advantage of changed block tracking. Veeam copies backups to disk for storage in each data center’s disaster recovery (DR) site, which is faster and more cost-effective than Datacert copying backups to tape and physically transporting the tapes to the DR site. Veeam’s built-in WAN acceleration reduces bandwidth required for data transfer over the WAN.
“Our average daily backup is now twice as fast, enabling more frequent backup, and recovery is much faster too,” said Guy Mays, Team Lead in Production Support for Datacert. “We used to spend hours, and sometimes days, recovering files with our legacy backup tool. Recovery with Veeam takes minutes,”
Improvements in recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs) also enable Datacert to offer advanced service level agreements (SLAs) to its clients, which is critical for clients that have regulatory responsibilities regarding data recovery.
Regarding Veeam’s Instant File-Level Recovery, Mays said, “When a client made a change to a property file that caused the application to stop working, we used Instant File-Level Recovery to restore a backup of the file across 100 VMs in about 15 minutes.”
Veeam Backup & Replication saves time and money for Datacert. The legacy backup tool required expensive agent licenses for each VM to be backed up, resulting in $25,000 in license fees each month. Veeam is licensed per CPU socket and doesn’t require agents.
“The best way to demonstrate how Veeam saves us time and money is to explain our VM migration project,” Skelton said. “We migrated 400 VMs from a colocation site to our new data center—the same one that Veeam MP helped us design— in an extremely short timeframe—45 days. We used Veeam replication and replica seeding, and we completed the migration with two weeks to spare, with no data loss and zero impact on clients. We didn’t even consider the legacy backup tool because migration would have taken five months, and we didn’t have the luxury of time. By migrating the VMs before the deadline, we saved the company $140,000 per month in colocation rental fees. Veeam was a lifesaver again.”
Complete visibility of virtual environment enables proactive issue resolution
Datacert deployed Veeam MP for application-to-metal management. Veeam MP monitors VMware through System Center, providing reporting and capacity planning that help Datacert proactively resolve issues in its backup infrastructure. Veeam’s capacity planning reports also helped Datacert design its new data center.
Veeam MP provides a built-in VMware knowledge base and correlated metric alerts to help Datacert pinpoint root causes of issues quickly, saving the company’s network engineers about 24 hours each week because they no longer have to go back and forth between System Center Operations Manager and their legacy monitoring interface.
Frequent VM backup and fast recovery improve RPOs, RTOs and SLAs
Datacert’s clients require 24x7 access to their data. Datacert replaced its legacy backup tool with Veeam Backup & Replication, and the benefits were immediate. Veeam reduced Datacert’s backup window by 56% and decreased recovery time from days to minutes. More frequent backup and faster recovery improved Datacert’s RPOs and RTOs and enabled the company to offer clients even better SLAs.
Backup costs decrease by $25,000; fast VM migration saves $140,000
Datacert saved $25,000 each month by replacing its legacy backup tool, which required expensive agents, with Veeam Backup & Replication, which is agentless. Instead of using the legacy tool to replicate VMs over a five-month period during a data center migration, Datacert used Veeam to replicate the VMs in 30 days—two weeks ahead of a very tight 45-day deadline, with no data loss and no impact on clients. If Datacert hadn’t used Veeam for the VM migration the company would have paid $140,000 in colocation fees for each month past the deadline.