The first Goodwill in New York trained poor and disabled people to mend and sell clothing and household goods to earn a living, resulting in the philosophy of Goodwill retail stores funding services for the community. Today Goodwill NY-NJ, which celebrated its centennial in 2015, is one of the largest providers of employment support services in the New York City metropolitan area.
A lot has changed in the world since Goodwill NY-NJ was founded in 1815, especially technology, but one thing has remained constant: Profitability must be maintained to fulfill its mission. Goodwill NY-NJ decided the best way to achieve this balance was to build a modern data center and make IT a strategic partner to the organization.
“Building a modern data center was the most cost-effective way of protecting our intellectual property,” said Andre Bromes, Senior Vice President and CIO at Goodwill NY-NJ. “We’re like any for-profit company: Our goal is to ensure our intellectual property is secure and highly available to users 24x7.”
Bromes said hardware can be upgraded or replaced, but the value of information is intangible, and its availability can’t be interrupted.
“Our brand is our mission—people are why we exist,” he explained. “Any negative impact to data availability could cause us to lose business because our reputation would be sullied. That’s why we needed a better backup solution. Protecting our data—making sure it is secure and highly available to our users—is a key component of our business strategy. Our backup tool didn’t fit with our business strategy.”
Goodwill NY-NJ’s backup tool was prone to failure. Backup failed more than 30% of the time and recovery failed up to 70% of the time. Backing up and recovering virtual machines (VMs) running Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server, two of Goodwill NY-NJ’s most critical systems, was particularly problematic.
“We were getting very creative in how we recovered VMs and files, but that meant a lot of extra time was wasted on manual intervention,” said Carlos Castellanos, Senior Systems Engineer at Goodwill NY-NJ. “We were also frustrated with the growing backup window. Our data increased by 30% in two years, but the backup tool couldn’t scale. Our backup window grew so big that we couldn’t back up VMs often enough for decent recovery points. Even if we wanted to back up more often, it wouldn’t have been possible because backup would have impacted our production environment and affected users.”
With slow backup and recovery, Goodwill NY-NJ couldn’t meet recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs) in service level agreements (SLAs) with business units, which contradicted its goal for IT to be a strategic partner to the organization.
While testing backup tools, Goodwill NY-NJ’s IT team came across an online link to a free 30-day trial of Veeam® Backup & Replication™. A few days into the trial, Goodwill NY-NJ knew it would replace its legacy backup tool with Veeam.
“The free trial with Veeam was a real eye-opener for us,” Castellanos said. “Here was a backup solution that was obviously built for virtualization and would be perfect for our distributed environment. I could define any VM as a proxy or a repository, verify recoverability of backups, restore instantly and integrate replication into our WAN for DR. Veeam was a paradigm shift for us.”
Veeam Backup & Replication offers enterprise scalability through a distributed architecture that simplifies deployment and improves performance for Goodwill NY-NJ’s extended IT infrastructure—the force behind its mission to help people find employment. More than 95% of data and applications are virtualized on VMware vSphere including email for 1,500 users, training at 70 program locations, e-commerce for financial gifts, customer relationship management for fundraising, ERP and a point-of-sale (POS) system for 45 retail stores.
Most people associate Goodwill Industries with its retail stores, but that’s only one part of the multi-faceted organization. Goodwill NY-NJ also provides business services such as temporary staffing and industrial contracts for janitorial, messenger, packing and assembly services.
“Our intellectual property is what enables us to deliver all of our services,” Bromes said. “Veeam not only gave us a way to protect our intellectual property but also a way to maintain the integrity of our data. With Veeam we get the most out of backup, recovery and replication. Veeam transformed IT for us, helping us move from a DR plan to a business continuity plan.”
Backup with Veeam is so fast and reliable that in addition to daily VM backup, Goodwill NY-NJ backs up its most critical VMs every two to four hours, such as those running Exchange, SQL, file servers and the POS system. Goodwill NY-NJ makes backups directly from HP StoreVirtual storage snapshots, putting little to no strain on the production environment.
“Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots is a significant game changer,” Castellanos said. “Without it we couldn’t dream of backing up our critical VMs frequently because of the stun factor to production. We don’t want to impact users.”
For recovery, Veeam is not only fast but flexible too. Goodwill NY-NJ uses Instant VM Recovery™ to restart a failed VM from a regular backup in minutes and Veeam Explorer™ to recover individual items in Exchange and Activity Directory backups. With Veeam, Goodwill NY-NJ has a 10-minute RTO. Frequent VM replication enables a 15-minute RPO.
Veeam benefits Goodwill NY-NJ in additional ways. Built-in encryption helps the organization comply with regulatory requirements including HIPAA and the Gramm- Leach-Bliley Act. Veeam uses the block cypher encryption algorithm to encrypt backup data at source, in flight and at rest.
“Encryption in transit is especially important for us because it enables us to replicate VMs outside of our main data center and still meet compliance standards,” Bromes said. “In our case we replicate VMs to a DR site in New Jersey. The bottom line is that Veeam safeguards our data, narrows our backup window and helps us recover faster. Veeam makes our business continuity plan actionable.”
Delivers 10-minute RTOs and 15-minute RPOs
Veeam Backup & Replication protects Goodwill NY-NJ’s intellectual property and ensures 24x7 data availability for users. High-speed recovery provides 10-minute RPOs, and frequent replication provides 15-minute RPOs, enabling Goodwill NY-NJ to meet SLAs with business units.
Offers frequent backup from HP StoreVirtual snapshots
Without Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots, Goodwill NY-NJ wouldn’t consider frequent backup of critical VMs running Exchange, SQL, file servers and the POS system because the production environment and users would be impacted.
Provides built-in encryption for regulatory compliance
When Goodwill NY-NJ replicates VMs offsite for DR, Veeam’s built-in encryption protects backup data at source, in flight and at rest.