In April 2009, the French subsidiary of Hama began a gradual and continuous server virtualization project within its IT infrastructure. Hama, working closely with systems integrator Computacenter, selected technology from VMware. The first servers to be virtualized were those hosting files, databases, and business applications under testing. “We began by virtualizing our servers closest to end of life, then others very quickly in order to best leverage the new ease of administration we have experienced through virtualization,” explained Olivier Clemann, IT Manager at Hama France. “For example, our statistics server, although recent, was virtualized in the early stages.” Currently, two physical servers host about 15 VMware ESX servers and can, from time to time, substitute to each other in case of temporary outage. It just requires switching the virtual machines on the failed server to the other physical server. Users are unable to access services for only a few minutes, instead of one or two days as was the case previously. Of the six physical servers still in production, four will be virtualized at the beginning of 2010. “If several physical servers have been converted into virtual servers, new virtual servers are also regularly created for test operations,” Clemann said..”Today, it only takes two hours to get a new server up and running, and it no longer involves delivery, installation and configuration time.” Hama’s virtualization project also required a backup solution. The IT team wanted a solution that was easy to deploy and use day to day. That’s because backup attempts with the current tool had resulted in complex processes and lengthy file recovery time.
“After using the evaluation version of Veeam Backup & Replication for two days, I confidently ordered the commercial software. In fact, this backup tool should not be separated from ESX servers, considering the ease of installation, the quick setup, and the lightning-fast recoveries. Moreover, the price/performance ratio is just outstanding,” explained Clemann. “From the interface, all kinds of backups are possible. In everyday life, a backup or restore job is created in only one and a half minutes,” he concluded.
The Veeam tool uses the network to copy the backups of all the virtual machines on a dedicated ESX server, then to a centralized storage array, and finally on tape once a week. At any time, Veeam Backup & Replication enables the restoration of specific files or an entire virtual machine.
“Before, our heterogeneous and multi-generation environment required a specific backup for each physical server, but now all the servers are backed up on a single media. This allows a much easier and faster restore of any data from a single storage space. With Veeam Backup & Replication, the daily monitoring of predefined backups is performed in two clicks and user files inadvertently removed are recovered in only one minute,” Clemann said.
Veeam Backup & Replication also offers enhanced handling flexibility during installation of new applications. Users create a virtual machine for test purposes, install the software and can restore a specific file or an entire virtual machine. Hama plans to increase the capacity of its storage array in anticipation of more extensive recovery tests designed, in particular, for virtual machines that will host Oracle databases. The addition of an ESX server will allow HAMA to put in place a replication solution for business-critical servers, such as the Microsoft Exchange Server.
“Having already attended a demonstration, the implementation of the replication features provided by the Veeam tool proves to be as simple as the backups!” Clemann said.
As Hama was very satisfied with the services offered by Veeam Backup & Replication 3.5, the company also installed the latest release 4.0, which is even faster and enhanced with new functionalities