The Business Challenge
The Hirslanden Private Hospital Group has a large IT infrastructure that supports 5,000 users and is spread across four datacentres. In the virtual environment, the nearly 700 VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) that run every mission-critical application are on Vblock™ Systems from the Virtual Computing Environment Company (VCE).
When Hirslanden’s operations team became frustrated with the way its legacy backup tool performed in the virtual environment, it began looking for a solution built specifically for virtualisation. The legacy backup tool had been built for physical servers and retrofitted for VMs, resulting in slow backup and unreliable recovery. In one datacentre, backup with the legacy tool took 42 hours, and recovering a VM took up to one day. In another datacentre, backup took a lengthy 72 hours.
The operations team also wanted deeper visibility in the virtual environment. Team members used Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to manage the physical server environment, but they didn’t have adequate monitoring and reporting for VMware and their backup infrastructure.
“Our biggest challenge was determining the root cause of an issue and who should resolve the issue before it became a problem,” said René Schärer, Systems Engineer for Hirslanden. “If one of our users complained that an application was slow, we didn’t know if the problem was with the physical environment, the VM or the application inside the VM. We needed more detailed information so the help ticket could be escalated to the right team.”
The Veeam Solution
Hirslanden implemented two solutions from Veeam® Software. Veeam Backup & Replication™ provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup and recovery of virtualised applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Veeam Management Pack (MP) for VMware™ monitors and reports on Hirslanden’s virtual environment, including the backup infrastructure.
Schärer said Veeam Backup & Replication has decreased backup time significantly from 42 hours to seven hours in one datacentre and from 72 hours to four hours in another datacentre. Recovery speed has also improved. Before Veeam, recovering a set of four VMs took at least one day. With Veeam, recovering the same four VMs takes an hour.
Hirslanden’s operations team has two favorite features in Veeam Backup & Replication. Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange lets team members recover emails, notes and contacts in minutes, directly from a backup of the VM running exchange. When asked to describe Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange, they used three adjectives: simple, fast and easy.
Their other favorite feature is Enhanced 1-Click Restore, which lets them delegate VM and file-level recovery to the first line of support. With Enhanced 1-Click Restore, they assign permissions to the individuals who will complete the restore process. Escalating help tickets to the right team of people enables Hirslanden to be more efficient, which is why the second Veeam solution, Veeam MP, also plays an important role in IT.
“Veeam MP improves our visibility in the virtual and backup infrastructures, giving us a better understanding of where an issue lies. With this information, we expedite the help ticket to the right team and resolve the issue faster than before,” Schärer said.
Veeam MP extends deep VMware monitoring and reporting to SCOM, giving Hirslanden a unified view of its physical and virtual environments through a single pane of glass and allowing app-to-metal management from one console. Veeam MP also discovers the Veeam Backup & Replication infrastructure to provide monitoring, reporting and capacity planning for backup, directly in the Operations Manager console.
Schärer said he and his colleagues provide monthly infrastructure reporting to management. SCOM has always given them the data they need to report on the physical environment, and now with Veeam MP, they have data to report on the virtual environment and the backup infrastructure.
“Our operations team is really happy it can now provide reports on backup performance and capacity to management,” Schärer explained. “Team members feel Veeam MP gives them even more control over Veeam Backup & Replication, specifically counters. With Veeam MP they can also monitor VMs in DMZ zones to which the SCOM agent can’t connect, and they can monitor Linux VMs in which we can’t install SCOM agents because another team is responsible for them.”
Backup time decreases dramatically
Veeam Backup & Replication provides many benefits over legacy backup tools, including lightning fast backup. Once Hirslanden deployed Veeam, backup time decreased by 83% in one datacentre (from 42 hours to seven hours) and 94% in another (from 72 hours to four hours).
Recovery is fast, reliable and flexible
With Veeam Backup & Replication, Hirslanden will never have to recover another VM from scratch. Instead, Veeam provides fast granular recovery for multiple scenarios, including Microsoft Exchange. In addition, Hirslanden can assign recovery permission to the individuals who will complete the restore process. “The difference between Veeam and the other tools we compared for backup was performance and reliability in restoring VMs,” Schärer said. “The other tools backed up our VMs but couldn’t always restore them. With Veeam, we no longer face days of recovery.”
Deep visibility in virtual and backup infrastructures improves issue resolution
Now that Veeam MP extends deep VMware and backup infrastructure monitoring, reporting and capacity planning to SCOM, Hirslanden has a unified view of its physical and virtual environments through a single pane of glass. Deep visibility gives Hirslanden a better understanding of where an issue lies. Help tickets are escalated to the right team to resolve issues before they become problems.