The Business Challenge
Students are the primary focus at John XXIII College, hence the information &
communications technology (ICT) operations needs to ensure the learning experience
in the classroom is of the highest standards. This includes allowing students to
consume the digital services that they rely on for lessons, anytime, anywhere, on any
device, and also teachers having access to resources for teaching curriculum on and
Having Hyper-Availability is paramount not only to student’s learning. Administrative
support, payroll, finance and Alumni development are some of the services that also
must be constant and stable.
The College maintains Dell EMC host servers which load balance 25 virtual servers and
20 virtual desktops, comprising a total of 5TB of data. Its primary data storage target
is a Pure Storage Flash Array with a primary backup target being a Dell PowerEdge
R430 server. The secondary backup target is a Data Domain DD2500 system.
Yugon Chobanoff, John XXIII College’s ICT Operations Manager, says he and the
school’s leadership knew the hardware and data environment had to align with data
availability best practices – anywhere, anytime and on any device. “As time goes on
and our staff and students become more dependent on ICT, the pressure of consistent
and available uptime is greater,” he says.
And with the changing times, John XXIII College is mindful of the security aspects of
timely disaster recovery (DR). With data assets both on premise at the College and in
the cloud, Chobanoff says the College is assessing its place in the new threat landscape,
and he considers his position an opportunity to do it right with the right partner.
The Veeam Solution
Like many organisations, John XXIII College’s current ICT environment evolved out
of several fragmented and specialised legacy systems. Chobanoff says that while
the previous setup was capable enough, it was overly complicated, requiring several
products to work in tandem to achieve the best possible outcome – which made for a
lot of potential weak links.
“We found, with Veeam® Backup Essentials™, we could consolidate our disaster
recovery and availability of resources under the one umbrella,” he says. When asked
‘why Veeam?’, he does not hesitate; “Why Veeam? It just works. It’s intuitive, scalable
While the College has saved time and money in both quantitative and intangible ways,
perhaps the biggest change is in Chobanoff’s peace of mind. “We’re now confident our
systems are protected and easily restored if we need,” he says. “It’s easy to scale and
anyone on the team can own the process intuitively and with simplicity.”
John XXIII College deployed Veeam on their primary backup target system, an onpremise
Dell PowerEdge R430 server. It backs up payloads across the College virtual
and physical machines, from the uniform shop point-of-sale system and everything
in between. Each device and/or application is backed up to the server, which is
replicated at the end of every week to a full backup stored in the remote Dell EMC
Data Domain environment.
It all means John XXIII College is standardising disaster recovery (DR) across the
entire organisation, and that put Chobanoff and his team in a position to meet future
demands and manage future risks. He says Veeam is giving the College the power to
leverage expanded cloud backup and archival with ease, something that was missing
from former products and platforms. Furthermore, the ICT team can consistently
meet the specialised and demanding data security compliance requirements of the
Veeam has given ICT staff more time to devote to other work instead of spending all
day managing DR processes, and time – as always – is money.
“Our recovery times are much quicker, and we now have some great visibility into our
virtual machine stack with Veeam ONE™ monitor,” Chobanoff says. “It lets us address
an issue before it becomes a serious problem and causes an outage.”
In fact, he found he was saving time using Veeam from day one. “For our previous
product, I spent nearly six months working with a vendor to try and get the backups
consistent. It could take up to three hours in a day trying to deal with different time
zones and the availability of engineers in another country.”
Even when the worst happens, Chobanoff has found Veeam to be as painless as
it is critical. He tells the story about when a snapshot of one of the College’s server
was overlooked before an update was applied. Subsequently, the update caused a
server failure. Accessing the archived storage container and restoring the server took
only 20 minutes. “Of the one major restore we’ve had to do, Veeam was clearly faster
and easier than previous products we’ve used,” he says.
In day to day usage, perhaps one of the biggest advantages to the team is the
simplified visibility Veeam offers. “A good example is when an application has an issue
and starts eating up memory or CPU resources,” he says. “Veeam ONE alerts us to the
problem and we can intervene and avoid a potential server failure. I get an immediate
snapshot of where my virtual machine stack is at, and if there are any problems I can
jump on them straight away. Where I might have been spending up to two hours a day
before, it takes 20 minutes now, that’s all.”
Also critical to the success of Veeam’s deployment at the College has been the
integration with other partners and products. In fact, Chobanoff thinks it might be the
most important aspect of the platform. “When considering Veeam, it was important
that it leveraged our existing investments,” he says. “In our case, the support of Dell
PowerEdge R430 and Dell EMC Data Domain Boost DD2500 were key factors being
He adds that Veeam’s extensive vendor support and integration puts the College
in a position to take advantage of existing investments in its Dell EMC systems,
as well as scale yearly backups to the cloud for long term retention and compliance.
“We’re currently looking at cloud storage providers and so far, Veeam supports every
candidate we’re considering.”
- Mitigates risk with a single solution
Veeam Backup Essentials gives the College an at-a-glance picture of the server, data
and backup status, allowing ICT staff to address issues before they become serious
problems and cause outage. It replaced the former system of using three to four
software solutions that did not always play well together.
- Reduced RTO by 50%; 83% time saving on daily DR health checks
John XXIII College’s recovery time objectives (RTO) has decreased from four hours
to only two. Now only 20 minutes are needed each day to monitor the systems’
health, instead of two hours.
- Standardisation secures future scalability
By standardising DR across the organisation the College will be able to leverage
cloud based backup and archival with ease for long term retention and compliance.