The business challenges
Heidtman Steel operates one of the largest privately held flat-rolled steel service networks in the United States. The company processes more than 5 million tons of steel annually for customers including the Ford Motor Company, which uses Heidtman Steel products in automotive manufacturing. For more than 40 years, the company has been part of Ford’s supply chain.
To meet supply chain demands for all customers, Heidtman Steel’s processing facilities operate 24 hours a day. A custom-built enterprise resource planning (ERP) system facilitates electronic data interchange (EDI) between Heidtman Steel and its customers in each processing facility. If the ERP system isn’t available, the facilities must operate manually, which could impede product completion time and quality — and ultimately customers’ manufacturing success.
“If we resort to manual processes, we run the risk of being the reason an automotive plant shuts down temporarily,” said Ken Miller, EDI & Database Administrator for Heidtman Steel. “Our ERP system must be available all the time, or we could lose customers.”
When slow backup and recovery threatened ERP availability, Miller replaced two solutions (Backup Exec and vRanger) with Veeam Backup & Replication. Since data protection is a top priority for Heidtman Steel, the company doubled down by using a built-in feature called Veeam Cloud Connect to send backups and replicas to Evolve IP, a Platinum Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) that provides Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
“One of the reasons we love Veeam is ease of use, and another reason is seamless cloud integration, so when we transitioned to Microsoft Office 365 a few years later, we deployed Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365,” Miller said. “Veeam has always been one of the best — if not the best — solution I’ve used during my 34-year career.”
Miller said when he began using Veeam, he didn’t realize how important it would become to Heidtman Steel.
“I had no idea Veeam would help meet all of our data protection needs over the next decade including how to prevent, detect and recover from ransomware attacks.”
The Veeam solution
Veeam protects Heidtman Steel’s ERP system so the company can meet customers’ supply chain demand, and it strengthens ransomware protection by supporting the 3-2-1-1-0 rule (3 different backup copies on 2 different media with 1 copy offsite, 1 copy air-gapped, immutable or offline and 0 backup recovery errors). Veeam also provides total access and control of growing Office 365 data.
Veeam backs up and replicates nearly 20 TB across 40 virtual machines (VMs) on-premises to ExaGrid and off-premises to Evolve’s secure, private cloud. Veeam also tiers backup copies to Azure Blob and copies them to a Quantum tape library stored at a separate location. Moreover, Veeam SureBackup scans backups for malware and verifies their recoverability, while ExaGrid’s Retention Time-Lock prevents restore points from deletion.
“The integration between Veeam and ExaGrid is remarkable — from backup to ransomware protection,” Miller said. “Backups are processed on the ExaGrid array, so they really fly. Veeam and ExaGrid also combine their deduplication efforts to conserve backup storage, enabling us to retain more active restore points for our critical VMs, like the ones supporting our ERP system.”
Miller said recovery with Veeam is faster too. Instant VM Recovery restarts a failed VM quickly from a backup on ExaGrid’s landing zone — a high-speed cache that retains the most recent backups in complete form.
“I’m looking forward to trying Instant VM Recovery for Microsoft SQL Server next,” Miller said. “SQL Server underpins our ERP system, so being able to recover instantly ensures ERP availability.”
Veeam Explorers for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive also recover quickly, but on a granular basis, making them critical to ensuring employees’’ Office 365 data is always available.
“We’ll eventually move most of our on-premises IT infrastructure to Azure, so we’re interested in Veeam’s native Azure backup and recovery too,” Miller said. “Veeam continues to give us a level of comfort we’ve never experienced with any other solution. Each time I show my colleagues something new and cool Veeam is doing they tell me I’ve gone ‘Veeam crazy’.”
- Protects the ERP system to meet customers’ supply chain demands “Between Instant VM Recovery and five weeks of reliable restore points for our ERP system, we know we can recover quickly and efficiently with Veeam,” Miller said.
- Strengthens ransomware protection by supporting the 3-2-1-1-0 rule Veeam makes 3 backup copies on 2 different media (disk and tape) with 1 copy offsite (Evolve’s cloud), 1 copy offline (tape archive) and 0 backup recovery errors (via SureBackup).
- Provides total access and control of growing Microsoft Office 365 data The ERP system is one of several Tier 1 systems that play a critical role in Heidtman Steel’s business. Others include Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, so the company extended Veeam protection to them too.