The Business Challenge
The IT team at the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC) is responsible for the infrastructure that supports forensic investigation and research. Nearly every application is virtualised on VMware vSphere, including a document management system that tracks each case and all related crime-scene evidence.
When the NICC began its virtualisation project in 2011, the IT team knew it wanted a virtualisation-specific backup and disaster recovery (DR) solution for its Windows virtual machines (VMs).
“We had three basic requirements for a DR solution: fast backup, easy-use-and quick restore of our VMs,” said Eric Wante, IT Manager for the NICC. “We chose these requirements because we experienced the exact opposite when we backed up our physical servers to tape.”
Wante and his colleagues worked with INTO IT on their virtualisation project. Based in Belgium, INTO IT is a high-tech consulting firm and Veeam Gold ProPartner. Bart Debbaut, Team Leader, Systems and Security for INTO IT, said he and his associates advised NICC on a virtualisation strategy, design and solutions.
“We had heard great things about Veeam® Backup & Replication™, so we tested it and immediately discovered Veeam is easy to install and maintain, which was one of NICC’s requirements,” Debbaut explained. “We also discovered Veeam provides fast backup and recovery, which fulfilled the other two requirements. We felt Veeam would be ideal for NICC’s new virtual environment, and this is how our partnership began with Veeam Software.”
The Veeam Solution
Veeam Backup & Replication provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable recovery of virtualized applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Veeam proved itself shortly after installation when Wante and his colleagues experienced a problem with the VM running email.
“We used Veeam to recover the VM to a server outside of the production environment and troubleshoot the email problem,” Wante explained. “There was no impact on production or our 150 users. Having that kind of flexibility is very helpful.”
Wante is referring to Instant VM Recovery®, which lets NICC recover a failed VM directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup file in minutes. NICC uses Instant File-Level Recovery to restore individual files from their backups in minutes. In the future, NICC will use Veeam Explorer™ for Storage Snapshots to restore entire VMs or individual items directly from its HP StoreVirtual storage appliance.
Another way Wante and his colleagues fulfill their DR strategy is by using Veeam Backup & Replication to support a second virtual environment. They replicate VMs every hour between two vSphere servers. If one server goes down, the other is available, and users are not impacted.
Wante and his colleagues also use Veeam to help them gain deeper insight into their virtual environment. Native VMware tools weren’t meeting their needs. Veeam provides real-time monitoring and alerting, capacity planning, documentation and management reporting.
“Veeam gives NICC improved insight into the virtual environment for management and resource planning,” Debbaut said. “It helps NICC see and resolve performance and availability issues before they become problems.” “Veeam serves as our watchdog over the virtual environment,” Wante said. “It gives us control over VMs by alerting us to issues like low disk space and CPU thresholds.”
Wante and his colleagues are looking forward to taking advantage of the reporting and capacity planning capabilities in Veeam. They’ll gain deep visibility into their virtual environment, including the backup infrastructure, which will enable them to monitor performance and status of backup jobs, identify unprotected VMs and allocate resources efficiently.
With Veeam, the IT team has access to more than 200 prebuilt alarms and an extensive knowledge base, providing the comprehensive information needed to troubleshoot issues in the virtual environment and protect NICC’s investment in virtualisation.
Virtualisation-powered data protection
When NICC needed a virtualisation-specific backup and recovery solution for its new virtual environment, INTO IT recommended Veeam Backup & Replication because it met NICC’s requirements: fast backup, ease of use and quick restore.
Fast VM backup and recovery
Compared to NICC’s previous data protection strategy where the IT team backed up physical machines to tape, Veeam backs up VMs 40 times faster and recovers VMs and files in minutes, not hours.
Advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning
When native monitoring tools didn’t provide the IT team with sufficient information about its virtual environment, team members turned to Veeam for advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning. With visibility of the entire virtual environment, the IT team can allocate resources efficiently and resolve issues before they become problems.