The business challenge
Producing healthy food of the highest quality has been Interquell’s business
for a long time. The family-owned company, headquartered in Wehringen,
a municipality near Augsburg in Bavaria, can look back on a company history
of more than 250 years. The Müller family’s first flour mill began operations
back in 1765. And today, with its Interquell cereals business unit, the
company keeps supplying refined cereal products to the food industry.
In 1965, a second major business area was added to Intrquell. Using new
techniques and machinery, the company developed the first complete dry
dog food. Today, with its Happy Dog, Happy Cat, Goood and FischFit brands,
Interquell petfood belongs to Europe’s leading manufacturers of dry pet
food. The company’s premium products are now supplied to 75 countries
and available on four continents.
Hence, Interquell’s facilities operate around the clock. The company produces
up to 320 tons of pet food every day. In order to guarantee the consistent
quality of its products, Interquell has invested not only in state-of-the-art
machine technology, but also in advanced IT. “Most of our production is now
controlled digitally,” said Klaus Gruber, IT systems administrator at Interquell.
“A failure of critical IT applications like our Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP
system would quickly bring our plants to a standstill and we would no longer
be able to supply our customers on time.”
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of business
continuity took on a whole new meaning for Interquell. The company now
suddenly had to continue business operations with a large number of remote
users. Almost half of Interquell’s employees started working from home due
to contact restrictions and cloud-based collaboration tools like Microsoft
Teams ensured virtual collaboration and communication. The challenge,
however, was to enable flexible working from any location without
compromising the security and availability of sensitive data.
The Veeam solution
Interquell was able to react quickly in this situation thanks to having
an existing Veeam infrastructure. The company already implemented
Veeam® Backup & Replication™ several years before, initially to back
up VMware vSphere environments at the three company locations. With
this solution, the IT department backs up the entire virtualized server
infrastructure, which is a total of around 400 virtual machines (VMs). For
long-term storage, their backup data was also stored on tape. Interquell
also uses Veeam to keep replicas of the most important VMs. In the
event of a disaster, all critical applications for production could therefore
be restarted immediately.
“Veeam has become indispensable in protecting our business operations,”
Gruber said. “We can use it to make failed systems available again in the
shortest possible time. At the same time, the multi-level backup concept
with air gaps protects our data against threats from ransomware. Also, the
flexible solution architecture played an important role in our decision to use
Veeam. We can back up virtual, physical and cloud-based workloads from
one central platform.”
It was precisely this level of flexibility that paid off after the
COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Interquell quickly implemented Veeam®
Agents on the Windows laptops of about 100 remote users. These agents
regularly back up locally stored data, preventing accidental data loss when
working from home.
Interquell can largely automate the management of Veeam Agents
via Veeam Backup & Replication’s central management console. The
IT department uses protection groups to define which devices should
be protected. Veeam Solutions find the devices during regular scans of the
network and then automatically installs the Veeam Agent software. The
actual backup jobs are triggered at set times by the backup server and
then executed by Veeam Agents on the device. As a result, the backup
does not impact server capacity. Backup data is securely transferred
to Interquell’s data center via Veeam® Cloud Connect for the Enterprise —
eliminating the need to establish and manage VPN connections.
“The solution has proven excellent in practice for us,” said Gruber. “For
example, if a corporate laptop is broken, we can restore the entire hard
disk contents very quickly to a replacement device. A granular restore
of individual files or folders is also possible. We can therefore provide
comprehensive support for users working from home; they can concentrate
fully on their tasks and know that their data is protected.”
Interquell uses Veeam to back up not only local data on company laptops,
but also all content that employees store in Microsoft Office 365. The
use of Microsoft Teams in particular has increased massively during the
COVID-19 crisis. Interquell employees use the platform to communicate with
their colleagues and collaborate on documents, among other things. With
Veeam® Backup for Microsoft Office 365, all Microsoft Teams data is backed
up from the Microsoft cloud in Interquell’s data center.
Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 regularly backs up all Microsoft
Teams content, channels and tabs and also offers a granular restore function
with Veeam® Explorer for Microsoft Teams. This allows IT to search, find
and restore accidentally deleted Microsoft Teams data very easily and
quickly. Backing up and restoring data and other content from Exchange
Online, OneDrive for Business and other Office 365 services is just
as straightforward. Depending on the type of data being backed up,
Interquell is able to specify how long data should be retained — for example,
for three, five or ten years.
“Veeam provided us with excellent support in planning the solution,”
Gruber said. “For example, one recommendation was to use an S3 connector
for backup in our data center. It allows us to back up all Office 365 data
to S3-compatible object storage. That opened the door for us to very
cost-effective data storage that we can expand flexibly and indefinitely
- Reliable protection of production operations:
All business applications
and data are backed up across sites and can be restored within minutes
in the event of a failure. Interquell uses Veeam to ensure reliable 24.7.365
operations and remains actionable even in the event of a disaster.
- Increased productivity for remote users:
Data on laptops and in Office
365 services such as Microsoft Teams is also backed up with Veeam.
That makes life easier for the employees who work from home because
of the COVID-19. They don’t have to worry about backup and can get back
to their data quickly if problems arise.
- Improved compliance and IT resilience:
Interquell has better control over
the security and availability of all business data with Veeam solutions,
no matter where it is stored. The multi-tiered backup architecture with air
gaps also protects data from cyber risks such as ransomware attacks.