Euralis is an agricultural and agri-food cooperative from southwestern France founded in 1936. Specialised in high-quality production, Euralis is recognised for its GMO-free crops and the traceability and biosecurity of its production. With a turnover of €1.4 billion, it currently employs close to 5,000 people in France and abroad and has 7,000 active members (farm operators). The cooperative, whose activity is structured around four complementary divisions (agricultural division, seed production division, agri-food division and participation and development division), is focused on innovation, a major value driver for Euralis and its clients. Thanks to ongoing investment in R&D, Euralis regularly identifies new markets for its raw materials, thus seizing new growth opportunities, such as the transformation of corn into bioethanol. The cooperative has expanded internationally over the past twenty years, with the addition of foreign subsidiaries and the growth of export to Eastern Europe, China and Canada.
For Euralis, governance and data protection issues are a prime concern. Data underpins the foundations of the cooperative and helps secure its existence in the long term. “Our plants, equipment and businesses rely on cutting-edge technologies and are increasingly digitalised. Research-related data, for instance, represents more than 60 years of research and expertise which makes us the leader in our markets”, says Jean-Marc Massou, System Administrator at Euralis. In addition to data from research and quality laboratories, there is agronomic data, field surveys, industrial IT data, supply chain, accounting and HR data. Given the nature of its activities and its presence on three continents, the cooperative needs to ensure a very high level of availability. “We must be able to prove our quality approach, as well as the safety of our production, so it is essential we rely on a data management solution that ensures the security and longevity of this data over time,” explains Massou.
Euralis’ IT department needed to modernize its aging backup solutions to protect its 95% virtualized environment and ensure the availability of 100 TB of data — whilst strengthening its resilience against cyber security risks and the rise of Cryptolocker. Due to the existing solutions’ long backup windows, it was also impossible to perform daily backups for all VMs, meaning IT was not able to achieve acceptable recovery times in the event of a major incident.
Following a tender process, Veeam® quickly emerged as the solution best suited to the cooperative’s priorities and high availability requirements. By adopting Veeam Availability Suite™, Euralis benefitted from improved backup and recovery functionality, as well as the advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning features within Veeam ONE™. “Our backup strategies, both physical and virtual, are very specific and fairly uncommon in the IT sector. The Veeam platform meets our needs with great precision, which was not the case with our previous solutions”, says Massou. With backup windows reduced from 32 to six hours, IT can now back up the entire virtual and physical environment and has been able to increase the frequency of some backups to pre-empt potential user deletion occurring during the day.
Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery® feature has also been advantageous for the cooperative. Restoring a VM used to take 60 minutes but now only takes two, which helps prevent impact on production and ensures the high availability of application servers. In addition, file recovery times are now just 10 minutes, down from 30 minutes previously. All in all, this has meant IT Support can now meet 99% of user requests for recovery, compared to 70% with the previous solution. IT is also more efficient in its reporting and is using Veeam ONE daily to monitor and analyse the entire environment.
The cooperative’s IT department is particularly satisfied with the solution’s user-friendliness and ease of management. “We feel a lot of thought went into the product and that it was designed by engineers for engineers. This is reflected in the features as well as the interface. We feel like our needs are being truly understood, and that everything is done to make our job easier”, explains Massou. The team also automated most of its operating tasks using Veeam PowerShell scripts, which reduced management time to just 15 minutes a day.
Peace of mind that Eurias’ IT estate will be resilient to cyberattacks is also important as the cooperative expands its growth strategy overseas. Not only does Veeam Availability Suite have the functionality of a built-in end-to-end AES 256-bit encryption, but Veeam ensures that in the event of a major incident, recovery will be down to 24 hours, rather than one week with the previous solutions. Massou states, “As the cooperative continues to expand into overseas territories with sprawling data volumes, Veeam gives IT the confidence that the business can return to normal and deal with cyber-security threats”.
Looking to the future, it’s not only the world-class Data Management platform that gives Euralis the confidence of having a long and renewed relationship with Veeam. Veeam Support also plays an important role, providing the IT Department with a community of experts and like-minded people with which to engage. Massou concludes, “We are delighted that we can interact with Veeam professionals and specialists on the various forums. In addition, Veeam’s webinars, newsletters, blogs and other online resources provide team members with a great opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and initiate strategic thinking within the IT department”.
Founded in 1936, Euralis is an agricultural and agri-food cooperative from southwestern France with a turnover of €1.4 billion, specialising in high-quality production and recognised for its GMO-free crops and the traceability and biosecurity of its production. With a focus on R&D and innovation, the group has a strong international scope, as exemplified by the expansion of foreign subsidiaries and the growth of export to Eastern Europe, China and Canada over the past twenty years.
As digitalisation becomes increasingly important for the cooperative’s growth strategy, Euralis wanted to protect and ensure the availability of data from research and quality laboratories, industrial IT, supply chain, accounting and HR, as well as to strengthen its resilience in the face of growing cybersecurity risks.