The Business Challenge
GGZ Friesland provides mental health services in the province of Friesland, located in the northwest region of the Netherlands. The organisation has 12 sites spread across the province and another 38 offices at third-party sites. Approximately 22,000 residents rely on GGZ Friesland’s services each year.
“In order to provide care for our patients we are strongly dependent on our IT infrastructure,” explained Herwin Duinkerken, Senior Systems Administrator at GGZ Friesland. “For instance, our electronic patient database is supported by IT. It’s essential that our IT environment is always available so we can provide services to patients at any time.”
Approximately 1,000 of GGZ Friesland’s employees—about 40% of employees—use the IT infrastructure on a daily basis. The organisation has three data centres, eight ESX hosts, 200 VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) and 30 physical servers.
“When our physical IT environment became obsolete and required replacement, we virtualised about 80% of our infrastructure,” explained Joeke van der Velde, Systems Administrator at GGZ Friesland. “Because our environment was largely virtualised, we needed to replace our traditional backup tool to get the most out of this new environment.
“For our organisation, just as for other health care organisations, it is crucial that the IT environment is available at all times. If this isn’t the case, psychiatrists and psychologists don’t have access to important patient information. This is why we sought a solution after virtualising the IT infrastructure that could provide high availability, while being user-friendly,” Duinkerken said.
The Veeam Solution
GGZ Friesland brought in supplier VCD Infra Solutions for consultation. After a comparison with other solutions, VCD recommended Veeam® Backup & Replication™ because Veeam leverages technologies in a modern data centre, including vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, to help organisations achieve RTPO™ (recovery time and point objectives), save time, reduce risks and lower costs.
“VCD’s virtualisation expert told us that Veeam Software is a reliable player and that its backup solution would fit our needs best,” Duinkerken said. “Veeam’s low cost and high user-friendliness were the main reasons we chose Veeam.”
GGZ Friesland backs up approximately 2.5 TB of data per day to HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage. The deduplication capabilities of Veeam and HP allow the organisation to save significant space compared to the previous backup solution.
“Thanks to Veeam’s built-in compression and deduplication and HP 3PAR StoreServ’s thin technologies, we save between 60 and 70% in backup storage space,” says Duinkerken.
One of the greatest advantages for GGZ Friesland is the functionality in Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange. “This is an extremely handy feature for us,” explained Duinkerken. “In the past we had problems restoring a mailbox. This used to take three days. With Veeam the problem was solved within 10 minutes. In addition, we can now restore entire VMs. We accidentally formatted a disk that was linked to an ESX host. With Veeam we were capable of restoring the lost VMs in a few minutes.”
GGZ Friesland also makes frequent use of SureBackup®. To comply with auditing regulations, the organisation has to collect information about who, when and what changes have been made in any file, in addition to other information. To guarantee compliance, making reliable, recoverable backups is crucial.
“We need to be able to indicate that our backups can actually be recovered in case of an incident. We test this using SureBackup. This guarantees that we can always recover backups. Our entire Exchange server is also tested this way,” said Van der Velde. “All in all, the Veeam solution fits in perfectly with our organisation, also in the field of support. We like the fact that the Veeam support staff helps solve problems and provides solutions fast.”
In the future, GGZ Friesland will also use Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots to restore VMs and individual items directly from HP 3PAR StoreServ SAN snapshots. Recovery with SAN snapshots takes just minutes, with the result that RTOs can be easily achieved. SAN snapshots are made frequently and offer various recovery points, so RPOs can also be met.
Fast recovery of entire VMs and individual application items
With Veeam Backup & Replication, GGZ Friesland can recover an entire VM in a few minutes. Veeam also enables the organisation to recover individual items, such as email, contacts and diaries from Exchange backups. This guarantees that the organisation’s downtime is kept to a minimum.
Verified recoverability of VMs
Veeam’s SureBackup lets GGZ Friesland test backups to ensure they are recoverable, enabling the organisation to meet auditing regulations.
Decreased backup storage requirements
Using Veeam Backup & Replication in combination with HP 3 PAR StoreServ, GGZ Friesland reduced backup storage requirements by nearly 70%.