The Business Challenge
The IT team at Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) supports 1,500 users, two datacenters and approximately 135 virtual machines (VMs), including a number VMs running SUSE Linux. The team has virtualized all critical applications including SAP, Oracle Database, Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server. One of the team’s goals is to minimize downtime of VMs, which run the most important dayto- day business processes.
"A day without SQL Server or Exchange would bring our office operations to a standstill," said Eduard Mondragon, System Administrator for FGC. "For that reason we had to find a fast and reliable backup and recovery solution for our vSphere environment."
Mondragon said he and his colleagues had become frustrated with the VM backup tool they had been using because it was slow, unreliable and didn’t let them recover VMs quickly.
"We wanted a solution that would let us take full advantage of the benefits of virtualization," he explained. "And, we had specific criteria: fast VM and file-level recovery, built-in deduplication to save on backup space and high-speed VM replication for DR."
The Veeam Solution
FGC’s IT team looked at two backup tools and chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™.
"The cost-benefit ratio was much more attractive with Veeam," Mondragon said. "Veeam is a great value because it has built-in functionality that makes it fast, efficient, reliable and easy-to-use."
Built specifically for virtualization, Veeam unifies backup and replication in a single solution to provide fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
Mondragon said Veeam is faster than his previous backup tool, enabling him to back up VMs more frequently. It’s also more reliable, which is a relief to Mondragon because before Veeam was implemented, most of his VM backups were unsuccessful and had to be run again. And, backup files require half the storage space, thanks to Veeam’s built-in compression and deduplication.
"Backup speed is really important, but the real benefit for us is fast recovery," Mondragon said. "Restoring a VM used to take up to eight hours, but now we can do it in a fraction of the time. And, we can restore individual guest files without restoring the entire VM."
With Veeam’s Instant File-Level Recovery, the team can recover an individual file from a backup to the most recent state or to any point in time. Team members don’t have to extract the VM image to the local drive or start the VM before the restore. Instead, they can recover guest files directly from the backup. Not only can the IT team back up VMs with Veeam, it can also replicate VMs onsite for high availability or off-site for disaster recovery (DR). With Veeam’s nearcontinuous data protection (near-CDP), the team can failover to a replica and quickly restore service to users.
"We replicate three important VMs—SAP, Exchange and vCenter Server—from our main datacenter in Barcelona to our DR site. Knowing we can restore service quickly gives us a sense of security and tranquility," Mondragon said.
The IT team is counting on another Veeam capability for an additional sense of security and tranquility: SureBackup™. SureBackup automatically verifies the recoverability of every VM backup every time.
"We’ve tested this capability with some of our production servers and find it extremely beneficial," Mondragon explained. "It’s important for IT teams to know their VMs are backed up successfully and are
Fast, reliable and more frequent backups
Before FGC implemented Veeam Backup & Replication in its VMware environment, VM backups were slow and unreliable. With Veeam, VM backups are much faster, enabling the IT team to back up critical VMs daily rather than stagger the backups over several days. And, because Veeam has built-in compression and deduplication, backups require half the storage space compared to before.
Restores individual guest files directly from a backup
With Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery and Instant File-Level Recovery, the IT team can restore VMs and guest files quickly. "If we wanted to restore single files from a backed up VM before we had Veeam, we had to restore the entire VM, and this could take hours," Mondragon said. "Now we can restore individual guest files directly from a backup, so we don’t keep users waiting."
Offers high-speed replication for DR
Veeam provides near-CDP by capturing changes and updating VM images as often as every few minutes. Team members have a solid sense of security knowing they can restore services quickly in case of disaster.