The Business Challenge
Shortly after virtualizing its IT infrastructure on VMware vSphere, Jordan’s Furniture realized its backup tool wasn’t performing as well as expected. Backups failed more often than they succeeded, and sometimes they never executed as scheduled. Recovery was extremely slow, taking up to one day. Unreliable backups, sluggish recovery and a limited number of backups didn’t allow Jordan’s to reap the full benefits of virtualizing its data center to support the business.
Approximately 150 virtual machines (VMs) run most of Jordan’s critical applications and data such as Web servers that support e-commerce and Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory and SQL Server that support daily business operations, including the point of sale system.
“We never really felt the backup tool was intended for virtualization because it lacked fundamental features,” said Ethan Peterson, Network Engineer at Jordan’s Furniture. “It wasn’t aware of backup folders, so every time we built a VM, we had to manually assign the VM for backup. That may sound minor, but over time those types of things take a toll on workflow, resulting in wasted time and money.”
Peterson said his company needed a backup solution designed for virtualization, but it had to provide much more than just reliable backup.
“We also needed high-speed recovery, replication for our most critical VMs and ease of use,” he explained. “We wanted to ‘set it and forget it.’”
The Veeam Solution
Jordan’s chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ for two reasons.
“Veeam offers the most features available for virtualized environments,” Peterson said. “This includes features you’d assume like automated deployment of VM backups and features you’d think might be complicated, such as restoring groups from Active Directory—but they’re not complicated because Veeam is extremely easy to use.”
Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Active Directory is just one of Veeam’s flexible recovery features designed for virtualization. When a user accidentally deleted a group record in Active Directory, Jordan’s IT team recovered it in three minutes.
“Prior to Veeam, this type of restore wouldn’t have been possible,” he said. “Recovery with the previous backup tool would have been so laborious that it would have been faster to rebuild the VM.”
Peterson said the second reason Jordan’s chose Veeam is because Veeam integrates so well with ExaGrid, which the company already used as its backup target. For example, the ExaGrid-Veeam Accelerated Data Mover takes previous full and incremental backups and makes a new, full backup recovery point without placing demands on primary storage and the network, resulting in fast, reliable backup and recovery.
“Compared to the previous backup tool, backup with Veeam is much quicker and more efficient, and whole VM recovery is a completely different story, saving us time and headaches.”
Peterson is referring to a Veeam customer favorite, Instant VM Recovery®, which lets Jordan’s restart a failed VM from a backup on ExaGrid’s landing zone—a high-speed cache on the ExaGrid appliance that retains the most recent backups in complete form.
“Instant VM Recovery was a big selling point for us, not only because it restores quickly, but also because it enabled us to thin out our virtual environment,” Peterson said. “Before Veeam, we’d upgrade a server, turn off the VM and wait a few weeks before decommissioning it. Then we’d back it up one final time before deleting it. With Veeam, we decommission a VM right after an upgrade, do a final backup and delete it. We know if we need anything later that we can use Instant VM Recovery. Veeam gives us peace of mind and lets us reclaim space fast. There’s a tendency to forget about decommissioned VMs, and several of them represent a decent chunk of storage.”
Another way Jordan’s saves on storage is by using Veeam’s source-side deduplication with ExaGrid’s zone-level deduplication, resulting in a 2:1 deduplication ratio and lower storage costs.
“Veeam’s deduplication, backup and recovery are more powerful with ExaGrid, and so is replication,” Peterson said.
By using Veeam to replicate critical VMs between the data center and disaster recovery (DR) site, Jordan’s guarantees multiple recovery points. If there’s a software or hardware malfunction, the IT team can quickly recover a corrupted VM by failing over to its replica at the DR site. Team members have the choice of failing over to the latest state of a replica or to any of its restore points, enabling 5-minute recovery point objectives (RPOs).
“The combination of Veeam and ExaGrid is very compelling,” Peterson continued. “You get the best backup and recovery available for virtualization. Veeam and ExaGrid have made our lives easier.”
Reliable backup saves troubleshooting time
Jordan’s doesn’t worry about failed backups anymore because Veeam backup is reliable. “On the odd occasion that a backup fails, Veeam alerts us so we can rerun the backup job,” Peterson said. “Failed backups occur very infrequently with Veeam, which means we don’t waste time troubleshooting failed backups like we did in the past.”
High-speed recovery restores VMs, files and items in minutes
Jordan’s relies on Instant VM Recovery to restart a failed VM from a backup on ExaGrid’s landing zone and Veeam Explorer for Active Directory, Exchange and SQL for instant visibility into backups for item recovery. For example, restoring individual emails from an Exchange backup takes minutes with Veeam. It took up to one hour with the previous backup tool.
Frequent replication of critical VMs guarantees 5-minute RPOs
After Jordan’s fails over to the latest state of a replica at the DR site, it fails back to recover the original VM in the data center. Frequent replication of VMs throughout the day, provides multiple restore points to choose from, eliminating the risk of data loss.