The Business Challenge
IT is crucial to Garantum’s success. As a hedge fund, it has three essential systems that it relies on. First, Garantum’s public website updates and presents investor-facing data; without this, investors would lose confidence in the business. Second, Garantum’s stock exchange connection systems ensure that it is in constant contact with the markets. And third, a risk calculation system supports business analysts in making critical investment decisions. If any one of these systems were to fail, Garantum would be unable to operate.
Garantum has 70 employees, working in two different locations, all of which need access to these critical applications 24/7 in order to drive business success. To support these applications, Garantum has two Stockholm data centres, consisting of eight host servers running 80 virtual machines (VMs). This 90% virtualized environment runs entirely on Microsoft Hyper-V.
“We wanted to virtualize our IT environment to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability virtualization can bring: when we made the move, we were 100% a Windowsbased company,” said Marcus Juzwiak, Information System Engineer at Garantum Fondkommission. “Hyper-V seemed like the natural choice. It provided the reliability and capabilities we needed, at an attractive cost and entirely under our existing Microsoft umbrella to make management easier. Because of this, it’s given us a solid base for our virtual infrastructure.”
However, after adopting Hyper-V Garantum’s legacy backup tool was no longer meeting expectations. Not a day went by without data protection errors; from backups failing to complete, to recovery not working as planned. Since Garantum’s work is highly time sensitive, unplanned downtime could be disastrous; especially if it happened during a peak trading period. Furthermore, as a financial company Garantum is required by Swedish and EU legislation to ensure that its data is protected and available at all times. It now had less and less confidence that this would be 100% possible.
The Veeam Solution
“It was clear we needed a new solution that would guarantee the availability we needed,” said Marcus Juzwiak. “Our aim was to find a solution that just worked, and which could be relied upon to do its job effectively, without us needing to be constantly concerned about whether it was operating as planned. When we investigated Veeam, it quickly became clear that it was precisely what we needed.”
Garantum deployed Veeam® Backup & Replication™ – a powerful, fast and reliable backup and recovery solution designed specifically for virtualization that provides 24/7 data protection and availability for both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments. Veeam has massively reduced Garantum’s backup windows. Instead of taking place between 10pm and 6am each day, during which time workers could not access key IT services, backups can be performed in 20 minutes. Not only does this mean that Garantum can perform backups more frequently, guaranteeing a shorter RPO in the event of failure. Garantum’s workers can also access those key IT services whenever they wish, allowing more flexibility and efficiency.
“The main thing that Veeam does is give us confidence,” continued Marcus Juzwiak. “Because it just works, we don’t need to worry about whether backups are completing and can instead concentrate on providing IT services to the business.”
Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery®, which lets Garantum restart a failed virtual machine directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup file, has made recovery of backups much faster.
Recovering a virtual server used to take an hour: the same task can now be done in just a few minutes. This is especially useful for Garantum’s three most critical applications, which are now guaranteed to experience very little downtime in the event of a disaster. These backup and recovery speeds have been further increased by using Veeam in conjunction with Windows Server 2012 and its “per volume’ based deduplication.
Crucially for Garantum, Veeam provides quick and easy verification that backups will recover correctly when needed. As a result, Garantum can have peace of mind that data protection is working as planned.
Another feature that enables Garantum to maximize efficiencies is Veeam’s On-Demand Sandbox™. Through the Veeam Virtual Lab technology the IT team can run VMs from backups in an isolated environment for testing, troubleshooting or training. “For example, we recently upgraded our economy system,” explained Marcus Juzwiak. “With the On-Demand Sandbox we could ensure everything would run correctly before we implemented it in the production environment. As well as reducing time spent troubleshooting, it made us a lot more confident in performing the project.”
Garantum has also used a number of other Veeam features to increase confidence in its data protection capabilities. Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange gives Garantum instant visibility into its Exchange backups; perfect both for e-discovery and Exchange item-level recovery. For instance, when a mail inbox folder was removed by mistake, Garantum could restore it with no impact.
“The speed and quality of infrastructure and business applications is important, but having great data protection is even more so,” said Marcus Juzwiak. “After all, without data protection you can never be confident that your business will function 24/7. Veeam has given us peace of mind: we can sleep well knowing that Veeam is taking care of business. Simply by being straightforward to use and allowing us to essentially ‘set and forget’, Veeam has saved us 30 minutes a day in management alone. Coupled with the very good support we’ve experienced, if you want to simplify your life as a system engineer, running Veeam is 100% recommended.”
95% savings in backup time and 30x faster VM recovery for dramatically
Garantum has seen over 95% savings in backup time, with backup windows reduced from 8 hours to 20 minutes; allowing faster and more frequent backup, as well as greater access to IT services. Recovery is also more than 30 times faster: taking less than two minutes instead of an hour.
Availability of critical IT systems and ability to restore with confidence to comply
With Veeam Instant VM Recovery, Garantum can restore a failed VM in minutes with no interruption to production, unlike the legacy backup tool, which took hours. Garantum also has confidence that its critical financial IT systems are protected in the event of a disaster, and that it has the ability to remain fully compliant with EU and Swedish regulations.
Leveraging backup data to test upgrades to vital systems and new applications
Veeam’s On-Demand Sandbox technology gives Garantum access to an isolated environment for testing, troubleshooting or training with real backup data. Using On-Demand Sandbox, Garantum can perform system upgrades faster, and with greater confidence.