The business challenge
Gemdale is a real estate investment and development company with operations across China and the USA. In 2021, the organization completed contracted sales of over $44.9 billion in more than 24 major cities across China. The company is targeting continued growth — aiming to connect individuals, families and businesses with their preferred properties.
The digital channel plays an important role in Gemdale’s sales and marketing process. The company lists all its properties online, empowering prospects to browse its inventory, arrange viewings and even make down payments via their laptops, smartphones or tablets.
Xiaolei Han, Senior IT Manager at Gemdale, said: “If our sales system went offline, we wouldn’t be able to sell our properties. These applications are so crucial to the business that even an hour of downtime could cost us the equivalent of $15 million in lost sales opportunities — so it’s essential that we deliver 24/7 availability.”
Gemdale’s IT environment comprises approximately 500 VMware virtual machines (VMs) running on 15 physical servers, which host mission-critical information systems such as Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange.
“We previously used a legacy backup solution to back up our business data,” said Han. “We aimed to complete an incremental backup each night and a full backup every weekend. However, hitting these targets was becoming increasingly challenging. It took up to eight hours to back up a single 1 TB VM, which meant it was difficult to complete the process on time.”
As Gemdale’s business — and its data volumes — grew rapidly, the company realized that the existing data protection tools would be unable to meet its long-term requirements.
“Our recovery point objective [RPO] and recovery time objectives [RTO] are 30 and 5 minutes respectively, but we were not confident we could meet those objectives during a disaster scenario,” said Han. “Our legacy backup solution also lacked the ability to protect our new hybrid cloud architecture, which is the future direction for our business. To reduce our risk and prepare for the next phase of our cloud journey, we looked for a fresh approach.”
The Veeam solution
After assessing various data protection vendors, Gemdale selected Veeam Backup & Replication: a comprehensive, enterprise-class backup solution.
“The Veeam solution outperformed the competition in a number of areas that are very important to Gemdale,” said Han. “Veeam is a powerful solution that is also simple to configure and maintain, which means we can keep our IT operations team focused on meeting our service-level agreements [SLAs] for RTO and RPO. The solution integrates seamlessly with both VMware and Azure, allowing us to back up hundreds of VMs effectively and efficiently — regardless of whether they are hosted onpremises or in the cloud.”
Today, Gemdale has configured the solution to automatically create backups in multiple cloud and on-premises locations, reducing its RPO to 30 minutes and practically eliminating the risk of data loss in the event of an issue with its production environments. Crucially, moving to the Veeam solution has also empowered the company to accelerate its backup processes dramatically—offering the IT team peace of mind that it can meet its SLAs.
“During the proof-of-concept phase, we compared the new solution sideby- side with our legacy backup solution,” said Han. “We saw that the Veeam solution could back up a 1 TB VM in half the time it used to take—reducing the backup window from eight hours to just four hours. By accelerating backup processes by 50%, we are creating valuable headroom that will allow us to protect our business as data volumes grow.”
Thanks to Veeam, Gemdale can complete restore tasks that previously took many hours in just a few minutes, enabling it to meet its stringent RTO. Looking ahead, Gemdale is confident that it has found a data protection solution that will meet its needs for years to come.
“Because Veeam includes built-in support for Azure, there’s no need for us to invest in additional tools to protect our cloud environments — helping us to keep operational costs under control,” said Han. “Veeam also allows us to create immutable copies of our data. By preventing anyone from making changes to our backups, we can effectively disarm the threat of ransomware attacks, which are becoming an increasing business risk.”
- Cuts recovery time from five hours to five minutes, radically reducing the risk of revenue loss
“We can now restore our digital platforms up to 90% faster than before, which helps us to minimize the risk of extended periods of downtime —potentially saving us millions of dollars in missed sales opportunities,” said Han.
- Reduces administration time related to data protection by 40%, saving time for IT operations team
By automating repetitive data-protection tasks, Gemdale is empowering its IT personnel to focus on developing its systems and delivering new capabilities to the business.
- Offers full support for Microsoft Azure, facilitating the company’s move to cloud
“We feel that Veeam has much better support with Azure than any other data protection solutions on the market today,” said Han. “We’re therefore confident that we can continue to effectively protect our mission-critical digital systems as we move them to the cloud.”