Since it was established in 2000, Marfrig has grown into a global player in the food sector. The company employs more than 30,000 people at units and sales offices around the world. Worldwide, Marfrig is the leader in hamburger production, while in Brazil it is the second largest meat processor. It has production facilities across the country.
To maintain quality, Marfrig tightly controls production. For example, its abattoirs record the weight, size, provenance, and health indicators for every animal processed. Any disruption to the technology systems underpinning the company’s production lines can have a huge impact on profitability.
“Quality, sustainability and safety are the watchwords in all our units,” said Thiago Barros, IT Infrastructure Manager at Marfrig. “To meet these high standards, we rely on 24/7 access to business-critical systems including ERP and database applications. If we lose this access or any data, the consequences are severe. For example, one hour of downtime at our Rio Grande do Sul unit would translate to USD 35,000 in lost revenues.”
Recognizing how critical data availability is to its growing business, Marfrig initiated an IT modernization program for its operations in Brazil. One of the key goals of the program was to replace an aging data protection solution.
“Our locations are spread over a large area of Brazil and telecommunications network connectivity can be variable,” said Barros. “The old tool solution that we had in operation could not keep up with Marfrig’s growth, in addition to not meeting technical and business expectations, which would only increase. With that, we issued a detailed tender to find a new solution to take Marfrig into the next phase of business growth.”
To deliver maximum uptime for its operations, Marfrig selected Veeam® Availability Suite™. The company chose Veeam following a proof-of-concept (PoC) exercise conducted by Veeam partner BS4IT.
“We engaged three different partners to carry out PoCs for three different data protection solutions,” said Barros. “We tasked the partners with backing data up for a unit in Pará, far from our headquarters in São Paulo, to see how the solutions coped with the changeable network conditions. Since our units are not in the major cities of Brazil, we can’t depend on high-quality and consistently available telecommunications links. The proposal and management of the PoC by the BS4IT technical team surpassed the other two options in terms of strategy, speed of backup and restore, reliability and cost-effectiveness.”
Marfrig conducted a complex technical analysis, rating each solution against several factors in a matrix. Ultimately, the company concluded that the Veeam solution aligned best with Marfrig’s technology strategy, and it gave BS4IT the green light to deploy Veeam.
Once Veeam was selected, it was necessary to refresh Marfrig’s backup repository, by replacing LTO tape libraries and hard drives with solid-state drives (SSDs). Using Veeam, the company now backs up all systems, of which the most important include Totvs Protheus ERP applications, public/ private cloud systems, as well as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases. The environment protected by Veeam spans 150 physical servers hosting approximately 600 virtual machines, with a total of 1.4 PBs of data.
“The combination of Veeam and moving to SSDs for our backup repository has dramatically increased backup speeds,” said Barros. “We’ve also solved the problem of copying backups across our network with Veeam WAN Accelerator, which overcomes bandwidth issues and error-prone links. Thanks to Veeam, we’re confident that every unit in Brazil is protected, no matter where it’s located.”
With Veeam, Marfrig gains a central point of control and visibility for its backup environment. The company has the insights to power better infrastructure utilization and capacity planning.
“Before, our previous system offered limited capabilities around operational management of backups, which made it impossible to extract an end-to-end view,” said Barros. “Now that we’ve deployed Veeam, we’ve freed up valuable time and resources, and can also spot opportunities to optimize our approach.”
Marfrig is also now able to respond to requests from users to restore individual files or emails that have been deleted accidentally, supporting greater productivity.
“Using our legacy solution, we only had the option to restore an entire VM,” said Barros. “With Veeam, we have much more granular restore capabilities. This capability has come in handy for us many times.”
By taking advantage of built-in Veeam features such as immutability and encryption of backups, Marfrig is mitigating risk. Specifically, the company is enhancing its cyber-resilience posture and facilitating regulatory compliance with data privacy laws.
"Veeam offers us extra layers of resilience straight out of the box,” said Barros. “Our backups are both immutable and encrypted by default, boosting our protection against cyber-attackers. At the same time, it helps us meet the requirements of policies including the LGPD.”
The project with Veeam and BS4IT has proved such a success that Marfrig is now in the final stages of deploying Veeam at its operations in Uruguay and Chile, plus other Marfrig companies such as Plant Plus Foods.
In addition, Marfrig is also exploring the use of Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 solution.
“To continue to feed the world in a sustainable way, we need our data to be accessible at all times,” said Barros. “Again and again, Veeam is proving to be the right solution to deliver on that goal.”