The Business Challenge
World Vision has more than 46,000 staff in 105 countries helping millions of people. If staff members don’t have round-the-clock access to the global applications and data that support World Vision’s 2,500 programs, their work and the people they serve may suffer.
World Vision’s programs are grouped into three areas: short-term emergency relief (food, shelter and medical care during a disaster), long-term sustainable community development (clean water, education, health care, agricultural improvements and sanitation) and advocacy of policy-making on the national, regional and international levels (public awareness of poverty and the unjust systems that perpetuate it).
World Vision’s global data centre, located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, supports all locations and programs worldwide, with 85% of its IT Infrastructure being virtualised on VMware vSphere. Thirty ESX physical machines host 500 virtual machines (VMs) that run systems to support all global programs including child sponsorship, community projects, communication, collaboration, finances, CRM and email.
“We use IT to enable our organisation,” said Nick Goh, IT Director of Global Infrastructure at World Vision. “IT supports our programs and provides accountability for our work, such as building wells to deliver clean water. A community project like that is made possible by government funds and donors, and we are held accountable for those funds. We also track the well-being of children for 15 years following their sponsorship. If we lose that data, we lose accountability to our sponsors.”
World Vision cannot risk data loss or the availability of its data and applications. Performance of its legacy backup tool was one of the key drivers in the IT team’s decision to seek out a new VM backup solution. With the legacy tool, backup was extremely slow and unpredictable, taking up to 24 hours to back up all VMs. The tool also made it difficult for the IT team to meet recovery time objectives (RTOs) and service level agreements (SLAs) because restoring a full VM took up to 90 minutes.
“The legacy backup tool was traditional in nature, so it lacked recovery features that capitalised on virtualisation like granular recovery and automated recovery verification,” said Kenneth Seow, IT Manager, World Vision. “We needed a faster, more stable backup solution that offered advanced recovery features and made efficient use of backup storage. We narrowed our choices to two solutions, but only one offered the performance and availability we needed.”
The Veeam Solution
World Vision deployed Veeam Backup & Replication to give staff members 24x7x365 access to applications and data that help them serve the world’s most vulnerable people. Seow said Veeam met two of World Vision’s most significant IT needs: reduced risk of data loss and improved availability.
“Veeam helps reduce risk by providing much quicker backup than our legacy tool,” Seow explained. “Our backup window decreased by 63% with Veeam—from 24 hours to 9 hours. Faster backup lets us back up more frequently, allowing us to add 30% more backups for more recovery points. Veeam backup is stable too. The legacy backup tool was unpredictable, causing us to miss backups whenever it exceeded the allowable backup window.”
World Vision uses Veeam to make backups from NetApp storage as often as needed. Veeam’s integration with NetApp’s Snapshot technology creates application-consistent backups of 5 terabytes (TB) of data daily, with little to no impact on the production environment. Using Veeam with NetApp also results in better deduplication results compared to using the legacy backup tool with NetApp, saving World Vision 30% in backup storage space.
Goh said that in addition to helping World Vision reduce its risk of data loss, Veeam helps improve availability by decreasing recovery time by 95%—from 90 minutes to fewer than five minutes.
“Veeam allows us to quickly perform whole VM or granular recovery, which gives us the ability to ensure that if data was accidently deleted, it can be brought up quickly,” Goh explained.
World Vision uses Veeam Explorer for Active Directory to recover objects accidently deleted by users. And like many Veeam customers, one of World Vision’s favourite recovery features is Instant VM Recovery because it quickly restarts a failed VM from a regular backup.
“Our goal is to make sure our staff has access to everything they need whenever they need it,” Goh said. “When some of them complained that one of the systems they were using wasn’t stable, we identified the reason: It was a software patch that had been deployed the week before. The quickest way to bring up the system without impacting staff was to initiate Instant VM Recovery so they could continue to work while we solved the patch problem. Overall, Veeam has reduced our downtime by 60%.”
Seow said Veeam is also flexible. World Vision uses SureBackup to verify the recoverability of backups through automated testing and On-Demand Sandbox to isolate VMs from the production environment in a Virtual Lab for testing and troubleshooting. He said if a company has invested in virtualisation, choosing the best backup software is one of the most important decisions.
“Make sure the solution was built for virtualisation—Veeam is the perfect example,” Seow explained. “Veeam provides the best feature set and performance for high availability.”
“From a management perspective, Veeam decreases our backup time and increases availability and performance to improve the user experience. High availability enables our staff and our endeavors … to have more children under our care, to track our programs and to provide accountability for our work.”
Veeam Backup & Replication delivers consistent high availability to World Vision, giving staff members 24x7x365 access to everything they need whenever they need it so they can help those in need. High availability enables them to remain accountable to the people and communities they serve and to the funding sources that make World Vision’s programs possible.
World Vision makes fast, application-consistent backups from NetApp storage snapshots with practically no impact on production. Fast backup shortened the backup window by 63% (from 24 hours to 9 hours) and enabled 30% more backups. Built-in deduplication and compression in Veeam and NetApp ensure backup targets are used efficiently by reducing storage requirements by 30%.
The flexibility of Veeam’s Virtual Lab allows World Vision to take advantage of features like On-Demand Sandbox to isolate VMs from the production environment for testing and SureBackup to verify the recoverability of every backup.
World Vision’s IT team uses Veeam’s high-speed recovery features to decrease restore time by 95% and downtime by 60%. For example, Instant VM Recovery lets team members immediately restore a VM to their production environment by running it directly from a backup file. Instant VM Recovery helps them improve RTOs and minimize disruption to users. Users remain productive while team members troubleshoot an issue with the failed VM.