The Business Challenge
Government organisations, such as Wingecarribee Shire Council, are pressed to increase operational efficiency and save money. One of the ways Wingecarribee Shire Council increased efficiency was by virtualising its IT infrastructure on VMware vSphere. The IT team quickly realised the key to saving money was finding a fast, dependable and affordable backup and recovery solution for its 50 Windows virtual machines (VMs).
At first the team tried backing up its VMs with the same tool it used to back up physical machines, but that was problematic. Just getting the tool up and running was onerous, according to Iain Gardiner, Systems and Database Administrator for Wingecarribee Shire Council.
“Installing agents was a huge headache, not to mention expensive,” Gardiner explained. “We were using a backup tool for the physical world when we should have been using a backup solution for the virtual world. We wanted something that was fast, reliable, easy-to-use and reasonably priced. We didn’t know we’d find a solution that met all of our requirements and blew away our targets for data recovery.”
The Veeam Solution
The Council’s IT team chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ for powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup and recovery of virtualised applications and data on VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
Veeam made backup more efficient, saving team members 10 hours each week in hands-on management and freeing them to work on other datacentre priorities, such as system administration and server creation. Veeam also saved the Council money because it was 50% less expensive than the physical backup tool. And, Veeam improved the team’s recovery point and recovery time objectives (RPOs and RTOs). Backup and replication with Veeam is 50% faster than the physical backup tool, enabling more frequent backups, and recovery is 90% faster.
“I used to devote the first two hours of each morning to backups—checking to see if they ran successfully and if the tape drives were working,” Gardiner said. “With Veeam, I don’t have to do any checking because I get email alerts that everything is fine. Veeam is so reliable that you just set it and forget it. It’s such a relief to go home at night knowing everything will tick over easily during backup. That’s a good feeling.”
For a non-profit organisation like the Council, cost-effective processes are paramount. Veeam is more cost-effective than the physical backup tool because it is agentless, and Veeam saves money in backup storage because it has built-in compression and deduplication. The IT team will abandon the physical backup tool in the virtual environment when it takes advantage of Veeam’s native tape support and no longer uses the physical backup tool to copy Veeam backup files to tape.
Gardiner said he and his colleagues used the money they saved with Veeam to bolster their DR strategy. “When we began testing Veeam replication, we realized the hardware at our offsite DR center couldn’t handle the load,” Gardiner said. “The cost-savings with Veeam helped us purchase a more powerful server.”
Now that team members back up VMs onsite and replicate VMs offsite they have set new RPOs and RTOs through improved best practices for data recovery. In the physical world, their targets were one-day loss and two-day return to operations. While they were successful getting essential services up and running within two days, bringing the entire production environment back online could take a week. In the virtual world, team members use Veeam to achieve near-continuous data protection (near-CDP) through frequent backup and replication, and they also use Veeam to recover data from a backup file in minutes.
“Our favorite features in Veeam are Instant VM Recovery and Instant File-Level Recovery,” Gardiner said. “When one of our VMs failed, we restored its operating system in minutes. When our colleagues delete important files, which happens often, we use Veeam to restore them in minutes too. Veeam has been our hero several times.” The IT team also likes Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange, which provides instant visibility into Exchange backups and easy recovery of individual items such as emails, notes and contacts. It is imperative for Council to be able to recover emails quickly during court cases.
“My manager was really excited when I demonstrated this feature,” Gardiner said. “We’d been looking for a fast and reliable way to restore items from Exchange. Veeam helps us meet this requirement and makes it so easy.” In addition to Veeam’s capabilities, the IT team appreciates Veeam’s customer support. When a former Veeam reseller mistakenly gave Council the standard version of Veeam Backup & Replication even though it had ordered the enterprise version, Veeam’s customer support stepped in and resolved the issue quickly. “Veeam’s support team set up a session to look at our setup,” Gardiner said. “We were up and running on the enterprise version in no time. Everything fell into place beautifully. Veeam is easily the best backup solution I’ve ever used.”
Efficient backup saves 500+ hours each year
Veeam Backup & Replication saves the IT team 10 hours each week in hands-on management, freeing team members for system administration and server creation. “There are so many other features in Veeam we can’t wait to delve into,” Gardiner said. “We really like Veeam’s how-to webinars and anticipate saving even more time in the future.”
Fast, frequent and reliable recovery improves RPOs and RTOs
Backup and replication with Veeam is 50% faster than the physical backup tool, and recovery is 90% faster. The IT team supports 24 locations in Wingecarribee Shire, and using Veeam enables it to achieve near-CDP as well as recover data quickly.
Affordable data protection advances DR strategy
Veeam is 50% more cost-effective than the physical backup tool because it is agentless and has built-in compression and deduplication to save on backup storage. The IT team used the money it saved with Veeam to improve its DR strategy by purchasing powerful hardware at its DR site for VM replication.