Hendrix Genetics, headquartered in Boxmeer, Netherlands, is a leading multispecies animal breeding company. The company is dedicated to helping the world meet a growing demand for food by supporting the animal protein value chain with innovative and sustainable genetic solutions. Founded in 2005, Hendrix Genetics has evolved through natural growth and the acquisition and integration of leading genetics companies.
Animal breeding is not a new concept. By choosing which animals will be the parents of the next generation, humans have been trying to change the characteristics of animals, like cats, dogs, horses and livestock for thousands of years. In modern breeding, intelligent software helps gather and process specific data in order to calculate the value that an animal is expected to pass on to their offspring. With DNA information it’s possible to link traits to genes. As a result, the desired direction of a population of animals can be changed much faster and more accurately.
Over the last few years, Hendrix Genetics has cataloged over 25 million animals in its central research center. Since 2008, DNA samples have become part of the set of measurements. These samples are extensively analyzed and studied using a range of methods and software tools, many of them proprietary.
“The data in our breeding system is the most important asset we have,” said Harry Geurts, ICT-Manager Infrastructure at Hendrix Genetics. “It is the result of millions of hours of work. And with innovative technologies such as IoT, blockchain and intelligent vision control, we are constantly collecting even more data. The volume of data in our company is growing by around 40 percent annually.”
To keep pace with the growth caused by new methods for big data analytics, the company decided to move its IT to the cloud. All production systems are currently being migrated to Microsoft Azure and at the same time, the company is also introducing Office 365 for all IT users.
We are fully convinced that this is the right strategy for us,” said Geurts. “We must also be prepared for the unlikely event that data in the cloud is compromised by a security incident. We were looking for a reliable solution for offline backup and disaster recovery of our critical applications and data.”
Hendrix Genetics spoke with several IT vendors about its goal of securing critical data from the cloud back into an on-premise infrastructure.
“For many vendors, our approach was unusual – Veeam was actually the only company that listened carefully and asked questions to understand our requirements,” said Geurts. “And finally, only Veeam offered the right solutions for our needs.”
During its cloud migration, Hendrix Genetics relocated around 180 server systems to Microsoft Azure. The virtual machines today run partly under Microsoft Hyper-V and partly under VMware vSphere. With Veeam, Hendrix Genetics is able to regularly back up all cloud-based workloads to a protected local infrastructure. In the event of a disaster or security incident, applications can be quickly restored on premises or to any public cloud provider. Critical applications such as the ERP system would therefore be available again in the shortest possible time and business processes could continue to run without major interruption.
Geurts goes on to emphasize that even more important to Hendrix Genetics than short recovery times is the integrity of their data.
“We absolutely must prevent data in the cloud from being accidentally deleted or compromised and with it the valuable knowledge stored in it. With Veeam’s SureBackup® capabilities we have the confidence that we can recover any information lost or deleted by mistake,” said Geurts.
With the switch to Office 365, Hendrix Genetics also introduced Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. With this solution, Hendrix secures all data from Microsoft cloud services like Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. The data is continuously retrieved from the Microsoft cloud and stored in a protected local infrastructure at Hendrix Genetics.
The IT team at Hendrix Genetics can use Veeam backup and recovery mechanisms that are not standard in Office 365. For example, accidentally deleted emails, SharePoint documents or files from a user’s personal OneDrive folder can be granularly restored at any time. Even if an Office 365 account is shut down because the employee has left the company, that person’s data remains available.
“We benefit enormously from the simple usability of Veeam solutions in our day-to-day operations,” said Geurts. “Our administrators have access to all workloads and data through a central management console and can recover individual application objects with just a few clicks.”
Hendrix Genetics also wants to integrate remaining local IT systems with Veeam into a holistic data management platform. For example, in the company’s breeding facilities, there are systems which must run uninterrupted so that the business can run efficiently. IT managers, therefore, plan to back up these systems into the cloud with Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows and Linux.
“The step into the cloud has no alternative for our company,” said Geurts. “With local infrastructure alone, it was no longer possible to cope with the enormous data growth. Veeam helps us take advantage of the cloud’s opportunities for our business without taking possible risks on our valuable intellectual property.”
Hendrix Genetics is a technology driven company that continuously carries out research in animal breeding and genetics, focusing on laying hens, turkeys, swine, salmon, trout, shrimp and traditional poultry. The company provides expertise and resources to producers in more than 100 countries, with operations and joint ventures in 25 countries and more than 3,400 employees worldwide.
The breeding programs developed by Hendrix Genetics are more data-driven than ever, and cloud technologies help transform the growing volumes of data into usable information faster. Hendrix Genetics needed a solution to reliably protect animal measurements stored in the cloud from data loss.