“Veeam saved my life.”
Nicolas Massey, head of the Operations and Support division, who co-heads the Colomiers Town Hall’s IT department, has nothing but praise for Veeam solutions, which he has used on several occasions throughout his career, in particular since the overhaul of the IT infrastructure at the Town Hall, where has been working since 2018.
“I was hired after the former team left to get the IT system back on track, because the Town Council hadn’t been able to make major investments in the IT infrastructure for five years. The backup solution in place was not working well. After an internal audit, I realised it had not been updated since 2012 and the version was obsolete.”
As soon as he arrived, Nicolas Massey found himself in a challenging situation. The Colomiers Town Hall’s IT infrastructure was archaic, which conferred the IT departments a rather bad reputation among users, whether they were citizens or part of the Town Hall, because it did not meet public service expectations. “The backup solution in place hadn’t been updated for years and the version differential was such that integrators and technical support were unable to help us in any way,” says Nicolas Massey.
Concerned about the results of the internal audit he performed on the system, and having used a Veeam solution in his previous job — where he had been confronted with a catastrophic incident that was resolved in a matter of hours — Nicolas Massey decided to install the free version of the Veeam Endpoint BackupTM solution on a virtual machine to address his most urgent needs and protect the Town Hall’s data.
“And we did well, because some time after my arrival, a major incident in the IT system using the old solution caused the loss of all of the Town Hall’s data. Due to the limitations of Veeam’s free solution, it took us three days to recover the data, but it was only with Veeam’s free solution that we were able to restore it at all. I then contacted someone who had already assisted me at Veeam Customer Service to set up a back-up server on an interim basis until a more permanent solution could be implemented.”
The Colomiers Town Council launched a public tender project for a complete overhaul of its IT system, including the physical servers, the infrastructure and the backup solution.
“With a fairly small team and a department under reconstruction, we needed a solution that was easy to handle and didn’t require any additional training time. Most of the applicants proposed Veeam solutions, including SFR Business Team, which eventually was chosen as a provider. Consequently, in January 2019, we set up an IT system with Nutanix hyperconvergence, a VMware hypervisor and a Veeam Backup EnterpriseTM solution, in two computer rooms, with a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).” Today, Colomiers Town Hall uses 82 virtual machines (VMs) and from the 12TB of data backed up when the Veeam Backup solution was first installed, the volume of data managed by the IT department has expanded to 15TB.
With this solution, the Town Hall’s IT department was able to improve its performance and deliver the expected services despite a reduced workforce, and the ergonomics of the solution helped reduce agent training time. The Colomiers Town Hall benefited from the ergonomics of the Veeam Backup interface and the easy-to-use solution, giving agents autonomy over the various functions related to data maintenance, monitoring, backup and recovery.
“I recently hired a system administrator who didn’t know Veeam solutions. In only a few hours, he was fully independent and operational in terms of backup. Also, one of the agents from another branch of the IT department needed to perform a restore. I showed him how the process worked and he is now able to perform these operations on some items independently, thus saving us valuable time.”
The smooth running of the IT department now allows the Town Hall to better operate and offer a quality public service to its citizens, putting an end to the dissatisfaction. In addition, compared with the previous backup solution, the estimated total budget over 5 years, which includes all costs, including hardware, licensing and maintenance, has now been reduced by 25 % — from 60,700 to 44,252 euros — and these significant savings allow the Town Council to invest in other projects.
Regarding compliance, Massey added: “With the Veeam solution, it’s easier to follow the recommendations and regulations regarding the public sector. So far, we haven’t encountered any problems because it is GPRD-friendly and appears to be compatible with all constraints, including data security and cybersecurity.”
Colomiers Town Hall has not encountered any major incidents since the solution was implemented and, according to Nicolas Massey, all the minor ones were easily solved using Veeam Backup Enterprise. the ease with which data can be backed up and restored means that the Colomiers Town Hall’s IT department can now devote more time to other critical tasks, such as restructuring its technical base and setting up new projects.
“Veeam is a true Swiss Army knife: easy-to-use, efficient, reliable, and secure. Moreover, our relationship with Veeam technical support is excellent, which benefits us greatly. Quality technical support is an important asset, and Veeam has always been there to help us when we needed it,” he concluded.
Colomiers, the second largest town in the Haute-Garonne district, with more than 38,000 inhabitants, belongs to the Toulouse Métropole inter-communal association. As the 14th largest town in the Occitanie region — the largest in France — the Town Hall and its 1,500 staff provide a wide range of services to Colomiers and its citizens.
In 2018, Colomiers Town Hall had been able to make major investments in its IT infrastructure for 5 years and its backup solution was outdated. After a catastrophic incident which led them to almost lose all their data — they experienced a complete faildown of the central database and were not able to access any critical document — and was resolved thanks to a Veeam free solution, they needed a secure solution to protect and restore the Town Hall’s critical data, and required a complete overhaul of its IT system to provide quality public service for the town and its citizens.