The business challenge
“Shaping the future. Together” is the motto of DATEV eG. The cooperative
was founded in 1966 and its headquarters are located in Nuremberg.
DATEV eG supports tax consultants, auditors and lawyers in the exercise
of their profession and promotes their economic success. To this end, the
organization offers its approximately 40,000 members and their clients
A wide range of software applications and services. The range of services
includes, above all, accounting, human resources management, business
management consulting, taxes, office organization, enterprise resource
planning (ERP), It services, and training and consulting.
A few figures illustrate the importance of DATEV for business life in Germany:
Every month around 13.5 million wage and salary statements are created
with DATEV software. Accounting data from 2.5 million organizations
are stored in the DATEV data center. In addition, DATEV provides around
665,000 documents on the topics of taxes, economics and law in its databases.
“Fast, secure and reliable access to digital information is more important
than ever in today’s networked economy,” says Jochen Leistner, Team Leader
Backup & zStorage at DATEV. “But many tax consultancies and law firms
no longer want to take care of the operation of their It systems and business
applications themselves. That’s why we now offer our clients tailor-made
outsourcing packages in addition to our software”.
Almost 6,000 tax consultants, auditors and lawyers already use these
cloud sourcing offers today and have individual business applications
or their complete It operated by DATEV. The customers’ servers then run
in the DATEV cloud, which consists of several ISO 27001-certified data
centers located in Germany.
DATEV also assumes responsibility for It security and data protection for
these customers and guarantees — depending on the contract model —
A server availability of at least 99 % . Failures of customer systems or loss
of data could have considerable consequences for the customers and their
clients: “If companies are unable to submit their tax returns to the tax office
in time, they may face heavy penalties. And without A functioning payroll
system, thousands of employees would, in the worst case, have to wait for
their monthly income,” says Leistner.
The service provider’s cloud sourcing infrastructure depends on A backup
solution that reliably backs up all customer data and enables rapid recovery
of It applications in the event of A failure. The software originally used
for this purpose reached its limits at some point, as it was not actually
developed for virtual environments. As A result, backup and recovery
processes became increasingly complex and time-consuming.
DATEV was therefore looking for A future-proof solution for protecting
customer environments. “The solution had to be multi-tenant capable,
enable self-services and support different hypervisor and storage
architectures,” says Jochen Leistner, outlining the requirement profile.
“In addition, good scalability was A decisive factor: our customer
environments comprise A total of more than 10,000 virtual machines with
A storage volume of around 15 petabytes.
The Veeam solution
The challenging task quickly narrowed down the selection of possible
providers. After intensive testing, DATEV finally decided to use Veeam®
Availability Suite™ to protect its cloud sourcing infrastructure. “In addition
to the powerful functions of the solution and the good integration with
VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, the great commitment of Veeam
really impressed us,” says Jochen Leistner. “The manufacturer’s technical
experts worked with us to develop A solution architecture that we could use
to handle the large number of VMs and the enormous data volume very well.”
Instead of implementing A central Veeam solution for the entire
environment, the company opted for A modular concept. Separate Veeam
Backup & Replication servers with directly connected backup repositories
are set up for A certain number of virtual machines. For performance
reasons, DATEV uses Microsoft’s Resilient File Systems (ReFS), which
reduces the IO requirements for Veeam backup streams by more than
50 % and enables very efficient storage usage. The backup data is stored —
encrypted throughout — on block storage systems from Hitachi.
“With this ‘building block concept’ we can scale our environment very
flexibly — and at the same time ensure very stable and high-performance
operation,” explains Leistner. “Thanks to the monitoring functions of Veeam
ONE™, which we combine with our own management tools, we are
simultaneously able to monitor and control the entire environment centrally.”
The Veeam solution makes it much easier for DATEV to maintain guaranteed
availability and response times for all customers. Today, failed customer
servers can be made available again within minutes thanks to the Instant
VM Recovery™ technology from Veeam. In the past, DATEV’s technical staff
often had to spend several hours on this.
Graduated administrator rights of the Veeam solution additionally improve
the operational efficiency. Restores of accidentally deleted files can be
handled directly by first-level support. A self-service restore for customers
is also possible. “This approach helps us to keep the backup and recovery
processes in our cloud sourcing offerings as lean as possible,” says Leistner.
The backup and storage expert also appreciate the use of Veeam Explorer™ for
Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server: “Most DATEV applications are based on SQL
Server — and we also host our customers’ Exchange environments as part of our
cloud sourcing offers. It therefore saves us A lot of time if the helpdesk staff can
granularly restore individual email mailboxes or database objects.”
DATEV sees A lot of potential in the solution for the future. In the next
step, the cooperative also wants to protect its internal It for around 8,000
employees with Veeam Availability Suite. “The beauty of the Veeam solution
is that we can solve very different requirements via A central platform,” says
Jochen Leistner. “It doesn’t matter whether it ’s disaster recovery or filebased
restores — and it doesn’t matter whether we use VMware vSphere or
Microsoft Hyper-V: We now have A central availability solution for all tasks.”
- Highly available provision of 15 petabytes of customer data:
processes in nearly 6,000 tax consultancies, law firms and many
associated companies depend on the availability of the DATEV cloud
sourcing environment. The Veeam solution helps the It service provider
to efficiently protect the enormous data volume of 15 petabytes and
to reliably provide access to all business applications.
- Recovery in minutes instead of hours:
With Veeam, DATEV is able
to restart each virtual machine directly from the backup after A failure.
Restores of several hours are A thing of the past — Instant VM Recovery
reduces the recovery time to A few minutes. This means that even strict
service level agreements (SLAs) can be easily met.
- Easy expansion of the cloud sourcing business:
processes, high performance data backup and the good scalability of the
solution architecture make it easier for DATEV to keep pace with business
growth. At the same time Veeam technology helps optimally utilize
storage and network capacities, thus keeping costs under control.