London Drugs was founded in 1945 just as World War II was ending. The small community drugstore in Vancouver was named after London, England, and carried the promise of peace and prosperity. The original drugstore of just 1,000 square feet has grown to serve 45 millions customers annually across more than 35 major markets throughout Western Canada.
Today the name London Drugs carries the promise of a superior shopping experience. While the pharmacy remains at the core of the business, the retailer also sells a broad range of items such as electronics, cameras, cosmetics and housewares. Several IT systems support the company including systems for pharmacy management and point-of-sale. Maintaining high availability of these systems is critical for stores to serve customers.
The customer experience depends on it.
“Maintaining high availability wasn’t easy with physical servers, so we virtualized each store’s IT infrastructure over a decade ago,” said Raymond Chew, IT Manager at London Drugs. “Our challenge was bringing stores back online quickly if a system failed so they could continue serving customers. With so many locations, it was inevitable issues would arise that might threaten their ability to stay open and serve customers. Having to close stores would have resulted in an unacceptable loss of revenue.”
Chew said London Drugs deployed Veeam® Backup & Replication™ to maintain high availability. “We looked at other solutions, but Veeam was the best fit for us,” he explained. “We needed assurance we could spin up a copy of a virtual machine (VM) quickly to keep stores open and operational, and Veeam replication delivered.”
That was just the beginning of London Drugs’ journey with Veeam. Today Veeam protects data across the enterprise.
Veeam consolidates and modernizes data protection for London Drugs. It enables immediate recovery of the critical IT systems supporting all stores, protects the corporate data center to ensure business continuity throughout the company and provides an easy-to-use restore portal so employees will be able to maintain fast access to their Microsoft 365 data.
After London Drugs deployed Veeam to bring stores back online quickly, Chew said it made sense to extend that level of protection to the corporate data center. As virtualization continued at the head office, he and his colleagues took a hard look at the legacy backup solution.
“The legacy solution could only back up data, not operating system drives, so if a server failed in the head office, we had to rebuild it from scratch to restore data, and that could take quite a while,” he explained. “We can’t risk downtime, especially to the supply chain, so we replaced the legacy solution with Veeam. Later when we transitioned from on-prem Office solutions to Microsoft 365, we deployed Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 so employees will always have access to their data.”
Veeam backs up and replicates approximately 1 PB of data across 1,300 VMs in the head office and stores on premises, and in some cases, to Azure Blob Storage. Veeam also backs up 365 data used by 1,100 employees.
“Knowing data is retrievable at a moment’s notice is huge,” Chew said.
Like most companies, London Drugs retains select data, including data in Microsoft 365, to comply with legal requests. To streamline compliance, Veeam offers powerful search, recover and export options for Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams. And if employees need to recover accidentally deleted data, the Veeam Restore Portal will let them perform self-service restores rather than engage the IT team, saving time and effort for everyone.
Chew said another benefit of using Veeam is the people.
“Our account team takes immediate action if we run into an issue,” he explained. “I cannot stress enough how Veeam steps up and does what’s best for their customers. It’s extremely refreshing to work with a vendor that values their customers and is willing to do what is necessary to make them successful. Veeam goes above and beyond to help us.”