As an independent investment company quoted on the Brussels stock exchange (NYSE Euronext), Gimv holds large amounts of critical and sensitive information. In addition to information on important contracts, the emails that its hundred of employees send and receive daily are essential for the company to function well. Gimv’s IT infrastructure includes 14 VMware vSphere hosts and 180 virtual machines (VMs).
Kristof Poppe, IT Manager at Gimv, and two colleagues manage the IT infrastructure in the company’s four offices. “One of our strengths is working with multi-disciplinary teams. It’s therefore key that our employees in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany have continuous access to all our data,” Poppe said.
“At one time, we carried out local backups with a legacy backup tool. They were comparatively basic and we had no means to test them. We didn’t have any idea if we could recover the backup without experiencing problems. Given the size of our contracts and the confidential information, this made no sense. I cannot imagine the consequences of lost information. Since the infrastructure at Gimv was already largely virtualised, we began to look for a virtualisation-specific backup and recovery solution.”
The Veeam Solution
Poppe chose Veeam Backup & Replication because he and his colleagues were impressed by the software’s technical capabilities and functionalities. “Veeam is a no-nonsense solution. It does what it says it will do, without any unnecessary additions,” he said.
Implementation commenced without issue and completed within one week. “Veeam makes it possible to carry out multiple backup health checks,” Poppe said. “The software manages everything and directs the user when it’s necessary to rerun a backup. The best part of Veeam is ease of use. It is reassuring to know that the risk of human error is practically zero.”
Every four hours, Gimv carries out a backup of its most critical VMs. The other VMs are backed up once a day and a full backup is carried out every weekend. “Backups with Veeam are very quick. In two hours we have a full backup, whereas it used to take at least five hours just for the largest server,” Poppe said. “Gimv’s employees work non-conventional hours. They often work very late or at the weekend, and they travel for work a lot. With Veeam, it’s possible to carry out backups whenever we want. They’re so quick that staff doesn’t notice anything. That’s why I’m a big fan of Veeam’s agentless approach. When our investment managers work on a contract, they need access to the latest information, and the system has to function perfectly and without hesitation. Thanks to our Veeam, we can guarantee they have access to what they need, when they need it.”
To verify the recoverability of its most important VMs, Gimv uses SureBackup. “We test the recoverability of our email and domain servers, databases and files,” explained Poppe. “It’s comforting to know that the backups that we carry out are successful and that we will be able to restore the data without a problem.”
For fast recovery, Gimv uses U-AIR (Universal Application-Item Recovery), a feature in Veeam that makes it possible to recover individual items, such as emails, one by one. “For my colleagues, emails are very important source of data. Before, it took a long time to recover an email that had disappeared or had been deleted by mistake. With U-AIR, this can be done with one click.”
In addition to the sense of security that Veeam provides to Gimv, it offers significant cost savings. “The forever incremental backup process functions extremely well,” Poppe said. “It allows us to back up a large amount of data in very little time. Forever incremental backup combined with Veeam’s built-in deduplication and compression results in backups needing far less storage space. Two weeks of full incremental backups don’t even take up four tapes.”
Gimv archives copies of its backups on tape. “The tapes are kept offsite in a safe in case of disaster,” Poppe said. “Prudence is incredibly important.”
Fast daily backups
“A full backup of our Munich office takes just half an hour with Veeam,” Poppe said. Gimv carries out a backup every four hours and one backup per day at the head office in Antwerp.
Quick restoration of VMs, files and items
With Veeam Backup & Replication, a failed VM can be recovered from a backup in minutes, and granular recovery is available for any virtualises operating system and application. “The U-AIR feature is a real plus for Gimv,” Poppe explained. “Email exchanges form part of our organisation’s most important function. Before Veeam, email recovery cost us a lot of time and money. With Veeam, these problems are now a thing of the past.”
Professional technical support
“The Veeam support team is very effective. The technicians are extremely professional and take any request very seriously,” Poppe said. “You realise very quickly that they are specialists in their field and that they know what they’re talking about.”