The Business Challenge
Basler osiguranje Zagreb has hundreds of insurance professionals and offices throughout Croatia to respond quickly to routine and catastrophic events, whatever time of day. Basler is an always-on business.
To ensure uninterrupted access to data, Basler virtualized its data center on VMware vSphere. However, Basler’s virtual machine (VM) backup tool didn’t deliver the features and functionality necessary for an always-on business. Basler could only create backups of files and databases, not entire VMs. And, Basler couldn’t verify the recoverability of backups.
“The backup tool had additional limitations,” said Davor Slavica, Manager of System Infrastructure and IT Security at Basler. “It didn’t integrate well with VMware, so it wasn’t user-friendly, and didn’t provide sufficient data deduplication and compression, so our backups required a lot of storage space. The backup tool was expensive because agents had to be licensed for each VM that we wanted to back up.”
Basler contacted itSoft, a leading systems integrator and managed services provider based in Croatia, for advice on finding a more robust data protection and disaster recovery solution.
“We knew right away that Veeam was a natural fit for Basler,” said Tomislav Pojatina, Senior Account Manager at itSoft. “Veeam has all the features and functionality that Basler needs for fast backup, recovery and replication. Veeam is a powerful product that we recommend to all clients with virtual environments.”
The Veeam Solution
Veeam® Backup & Replication™ provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data. Veeam unifies image-based backup and replication in a single solution, increases the value of backup and reinvents data protection for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
Basler uses Veeam to back up VMs in its data center to onsite storage for fast recovery. Veeam also backs up those VMs to a private cloud that itSoft hosts for Basler, giving Basler offsite backups. And, Veeam replicates business-critical VMs in Basler’s data center to the cloud for disaster recovery (DR).
“Veeam is our DR solution,” said Alen Ille, Systems Engineer at Basler. “We replicate our VMs every six to 12 hours, depending on the VM. If we lose our data center, replicas are always waiting in our cloud. We’ve conducted thorough testing, and we know we can restore all replicas in fewer than 30 minutes.”
Ille said what surprised him most about Veeam is that backup and replication don’t affect Basler’s production environment or users. Unlike the legacy tool that only took full backups, Veeam takes one full backup of a VM, which is followed by incremental backups of changed data. Veeam uses VMware’s changed blocked tracking to get the list of blocks that have changed since the last backup job. Incremental backups enable smaller backup windows and less resource consumption. Veeam also has built-in intelligent load balancing, not round robin balancing like other backup tools. Veeam considers the data store connection and parallel tasks to eliminate backup storms and target saturation.
“End users never know when Veeam is backing up or replicating VMs. It’s business as usual for them,” Ille explained.
End users also don’t know that Veeam is the reason Basler’s IT team restores their accidentally deleted Microsoft Word and Excel files quickly, as well as individual emails in Exchange. Before Veeam, the IT team could only recover entire email stores, not individual items.
Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange gives Basler full visibility of Exchange backups so the IT team can restore emails, notes, calendars, etc. quickly and easily. Now that Basler can back up entire VMs with Veeam, it can take advantage of Instant VM Recovery®, which restarts a failed VM from a regular backup in minutes. To verify the recoverability of backups (and replicas), Basler can use Veeam SureBackup®, which automatically starts a backup (or replica) in an isolated environment called a Virtual Lab, performs a series of tests against the backup (or replica) and creates a report on its state and condition.
Veeam has something else that Basler’s previous backup tool didn’t have: built-in deduplication and compression. Veeam backups, which now include backups of entire VMs, fit into the same storage space as previous backups of only files and databases. Veeam backs up 5 TB of data, which requires 4.5 TB of storage. That storage holds 30 days of Veeam backups. Before Veeam, it held one day of legacy backups.
“Veeam is so much easier to use than our previous backup tool,” Slavica said. “It is clear that Veeam was built for virtualization because it integrates well with VMware, making administration easier.”
Veeam is also 60% less expensive than the previous backup tool. One of the reasons Veeam is more cost-effective is because it doesn’t require expensive agents to be licensed for each VM to be backed up. Veeam is agentless and licensed per CPU socket. Veeam is storage-agnostic too.
“The best thing about Veeam is that it just works,” Slavica continued. “It’s fast, reliable and cost-effective. If you aren’t using Veeam Backup & Replication, what are you waiting for?”
Restores all replicas in fewer than 30 minutes
Basler achieved a more agile data center through virtualization, but its backup tool failed to deliver what the IT team needed to ensure an always-on business. With Veeam Backup & Replication, Basler can back up and recover whole VMs quickly, which it couldn’t do with the previous backup tool, and replicate VMs to a private cloud for DR. If disaster strikes Basler’s data center, all replicas can be restored within 30 minutes.
Doesn’t impact production environment or affect users
Basler’s production environment and users are not affected by Veeam Backup & Replication because Veeam makes use of the following: incremental backups, changed block tracking and intelligent load balancing.
Reduces backup costs through affordable licensing
Veeam Backup & Replication is agentless, which not only streamlines deployment and ongoing maintenance, but also reduces administrative costs. Veeam was 60% less expensive than Basler’s legacy backup tool.