The Business Challenge
The server infrastructure at LifeChurch.tv is completely virtualized and includes six Dell PowerEdge servers hosting a total of 50 virtual machines. Like most organizations, LifeChurch.tv chose virtualization because of the multiple expenses involved with a physical server environment, such as replacing servers every few years and powering and cooling data centers. “LifeChurch.tv is a non-profit entity,” explained Daryl Hunter, Senior IT Architect. “We’re very conscious of every dollar we spend, so virtualization made perfect sense.”
Daryl and his team entered the virtual world by way of the Mirazon Group, a VMware Enterprise Partner that provides networking infrastructure assistance to businesses of all sizes. Mirazon’s architectural designers and project managers help organizations like LifeChurch.tv reduce project implementation time and lower their total cost of applying new technology.
“Mirazon is well respected in the virtualization community and became our trusted advisor,” Daryl said. “When it was time for us to choose VMware management tools, they helped us answer the hard questions, including ‘Which product provides optimum storage?’ and ‘What tool will give me the best performance-based metrics for reporting purposes?’ Our challenge was to implement the best systems management tools available for a VMware ESX Server environment.”
The Veeam Backup & Replication Solution
Mirazon recommended LifeChurch.tv implement the Veeam Backup Management Suite Plus to manage their virtual infrastructure. Barry Martin, Partner and Chief Technical Architect for Mirazon, said he and his colleagues are well-versed about competing products; therefore, they recommend Veeam to clients. “We know firsthand that Veeam delivers on its promises of new features in new versions in the expected time frame,” he said.
The Mirazon Group stakes its reputation on its recommendations. That’s why Barry and his colleagues paid for several clients to upgrade from a competing product they previously recommended to Veeam Backup & Replication. “There is no comparison regarding file-level recovery speed,” he said. “Veeam Backup & Replication allows users to restore individual files in seconds, compared to hours with the previous product.” Veeam Backup & Replication is just one of the tools in the management suite that Mirazon recommended for LifeChurch.tv. It is the first enterprise-ready solution that combines backup and replication in a single product for fast recovery of VMware ESX and ESXi servers. LifeChurch.tv’s research and development environment is Linux-based, so Veeam’s ability to rapidly recover both Windows and Linux files is a plus.
Another tool in the Veeam management suite is Veeam Reporter Enterprise, which has been extremely useful for LifeChurch.tv as well. As the first reporting and change management solution specifically designed for large VMware virtual environments, it saves them a significant amount of time by eliminating manual steps in documenting their virtual environment. “At my last job, I was asked to fully document my environment, and I spent at least three days working on it,” Daryl said. “With Veeam Reporter Enterprise at LifeChurch.tv, I was able to install the product and get the documentation I needed – all within 90 minutes.” Veeam Reporter Enterprise’s storage management reports are especially helpful in tracking storage usage, clearly documenting and justifying the need to purchase additional storage.
Daryl and his team look forward to implementing the remaining two tools in the management suite. Veeam Monitor will support them during troubleshooting and issue resolution, as well as in trend reporting and capacity planning. Veeam Configurator will help them quickly and easily discover the current settings for all their ESX hosts, review and adjust the captured configuration sets as needed, and use that information to define their baseline configuration templates. “Both products will equip us to proactively manage our ESX infrastructure now and in the future,” he said.
In addition to the Veeam Management Suite Plus, LifeChurch.tv uses another Veeam product for file management. Veeam FastSCP is a free ESX file management utility that can copy files more than six times faster than other file management tools because it uses full network capacity. “I’ve used lots of different products in the past to copy files back and forth, but FastSCP is my tool of choice,” Daryl explained. “I can move a 300 gig virtual machine from cluster to cluster without missing a beat, while competing products might time out and have to be restarted. This software is fast, secure, and easy to use.” Another benefit to LifeChurch.tv is that Veeam Backup & Replication and FastSCP share the same interface, which enables Daryl to handle several tasks from the same screen.
File-Level Recovery Takes Seconds, Not Hours - Veeam Backup & Replication enables Daryl to restore individual files from image-level backups in seconds, without having to extract the full image to a local drive.
Time to Document Infrastructure Reduced by 98 Percent - Daryl spent roughly three days documenting the entire virtual infrastructure at his previous job, but Veeam Reporter Enterprise took him from installation to data in-hand in less than 90 minutes.
Copies Files Six Times Faster - Veeam FastSCP copies files more than six times faster than other file management tools because it uses full network capacity. Daryl can move a 300 gig virtual machine from cluster to cluster without missing a beat, while competing products time out and have to be restarted.