As a large-scale automotive distributor representing more than 35 brand names in the industry, Inchcape Australia manages high volumes of fast-moving financial and transactional data. With more than 200 business applications running to support multiple lines of business from distribution, logistics, retail to inventory, the business needed a data management provider that could ensure continuous service levels. Anything less would dramatically impact revenue and brand reputation!
IT Operations Manager at Inchcape Australia, Darren Warner, had worked closely with Veeam in his previous role at CBRE Group, where he became an early adopter of Veeam’s Cloud Data Management solutions and wanted to replicate the rollout’s success at Inchcape.
Warner’s main goal in incorporating Veeam into Inchcape’s technology strategy was to ensure seamless service levels and customer satisfaction. He recalled, “Before we used Veeam, the business could suffer outages lasting up to 36 hours due to hardware failure. This resulted in Inchcape being unable to process any customer transactions or complete deliveries within this window. The blackouts cost the company millions of dollars in financial losses, not to mention customer trust.”
On top of that, the business was backing its data up to expensive tapes, which the business was spending almost $14,000 a month to purchase, store and manage. “With more than 10,000 tapes in our storage, no one actually knew where and how to retrieve data needed for backup,” said Warner.
He shared, “Before I joined the IT Operations team at Inchcape, there were no service level agreements in place, no disaster recovery strategy and systems were failing regularly. As such, the team considered the business to be in a state of high risk.”
To address the outages caused by a combination of network issues, lack of change control processes and aging infrastructure, Inchcape’s IT Operations team worked with Veeam to initiate the rollout of the Veeam® Availability Suite™.
Warner’s team first set out to establish service level agreements to the business, categorizing all their applications into tiers and set corresponding Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals. Applications with the most financial impact, such as distribution or logistics were defined as Tier 1. Tiers 2 and below were attributed to processes that would have a lower impact on the business in the event of backup failure.
To achieve these new RPO and RTO goals, Inchcape’s executive team saw an immediate need to shift from tapes to a hybrid cloud environment, especially for Tier 1 applications that require faster recovery speeds. Warner’s team also introduced disk-based backup with over 200 virtual machines across Inchcape’s main office and offsite facilities, eventually achieving RPO and RTO of just 4 hours.
With 98% of its virtualized environment on VMware and Veeam’s close integration with Microsoft Azure and AWS cloud platforms, the migration experience from tape to disk and cloud-based storage was “virtually seamless”, shared Warner. The team also discovered an innovative use for Veeam® Backup and Replication™, applying it as a powerful migration tool to transfer data to the cloud, as well as new on-premise infrastructure, in minutes.
Inchcape has also made huge strides towards prioritizing data security and transparency for partners and customers. The Veeam® Availability Orchestrator’s automated testing and reporting function helps Warner’s team validate and document their disaster recovery process from end to end — including achievable RPO and RTO – ensuring that they meet compliance standards. This is essential for a business like Inchcape which works with luxury auto brands, playing an active role in upholding their reputations.
“Veeam Availability Orchestrator takes the pain out of orchestrating and maintaining 100% data availability, and it’s so efficient that we can even do testing during business hours, because it takes only 10 minutes or so,” Warner explained.
He added, “The great thing about Veeam is that it just works. Because of the speed of recovery and ease of management, no one is now managing data on a day-to-day basis.
With these time savings, we can now focus on improving cybersecurity for the business. In fact, we were able to defend our business against recent cybercriminal attacks that took our industry peers offline for two weeks!”
Most recently, Inchcape implemented Veeam® Backup for Microsoft Office 365 to back up over 1,000 accounts, allowing both staff and partners to continue using the platforms they love with optimal security.
Inchcape Australia Limited is part of the Inchcape group of companies. Headquartered in London, Inchcape plc is the world’s largest independent international automotive retailer, with operations in over 30 countries and core markets such as Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK.
Inchcape Australia is a leading player in the automotive services sector operating in distribution, retail and logistics with more than 1,500 employees across Australia. The company imports and distributes retail quality vehicles on behalf of renowned brand partners in the automotive industry.
Inchcape was looking for a trusted and easy-to-use data management solution for its infrastructure running more than 200 applications. There was previously no disaster recovery system in place and their tape-based backups were failing frequently. Any outages could incur millions of dollars in losses every day due to transactional downtime. Inchcape needed to find a software that would enable them to automate the disaster recovery process and bring down business costs.