The Business Challenge
IT does much more than support Drake Software’s business—IT is Drake Software’s business. Not only does the company develop tax preparation software, it also files tax returns electronically.
Drake Software virtualized nearly all business-critical applications on VMware vSphere, excluding Microsoft Exchange, which remained on a physical server. When it was time to refresh Exchange, the IT team considered virtualization for two reasons. Exchange could only be backed up once a week because the backup tool put too much strain on the physical server. And, recovering items in Exchange put too much strain on the small IT team. Restoring a mailbox or email could take an entire day. Team members had no choice but to tell employees they could no longer restore Exchange items because the process was too time-consuming. They had to focus on data center operations.
The Exchange dilemma led team members to re-evaluate their virtual machine (VM) backup strategy. They backed up their VMs and their physical servers with the same tool. (Exchange was backed up with a different tool). VM backup and recovery were slow because agents were required in each VM to be backed up.
Drake Software decided to resolve its backup woes with the same criteria it used to choose Cisco UCS as the new data center platform.
“We chose Veeam Backup & Replication for the same reasons we choose Cisco UCS,” said James Hubbs, Senior Network Administrator for Drake Software. They are bestof- breed solutions that provide rock-solid stability.”
Veeam Backup & Replication and Cisco UCS help companies such as Drake Software minimize risk, decrease downtime and adapt to business changes easily. Hubbs and his colleagues like the way Cisco’s converged infrastructure integrates with Veeam, enabling them to set up channel assignments for backup, which they couldn’t do with their previous blade servers.
The Veeam Solution
Drake Software uses Veeam® Backup & Replication™ to back up and recover 170 VMs that are hosted on the Cisco UCS server platform, including the VM that runs Exchange.
“Veeam is one of the pillars of virtualization, and it’s the reason we virtualized Exchange,” Hubbs said. “With Veeam we can back up our Exchange VM once a day rather than once a week like before, and we can recover Exchange items in minutes. Prior to Veeam, recovering Exchange items was a full-day event.”
Drake Software uses Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange to gain instant visibility into Exchange backups. The IT team can browse, search and selectively export items (mailboxes, emails, notes, contacts, etc.) directly from a backup. A similar recovery feature is available for Microsoft SharePoint, which Drake Software will utilize if SharePoint use increases among employees.
In addition to replacing the tool that backed up Exchange, Veeam replaced the tool that backed up the other VMs. Not only are backup and recovery faster and easier with Veeam, Drake Software saves on VM backup storage because Veeam has builtin deduplication and compression.
“Veeam meets all of our backup and recovery needs, is reasonably priced and simple to deploy,” Hubbs said. “We have daughter companies that are in the process of virtualizing their physical servers. When they complain about backing up the remaining physical boxes, we say, ‘Go ahead and virtualize them. Backup and recovery with Veeam will be gravy.’”
The IT team’s next step is to take advantage of Veeam’s Virtual Lab. Virtual Lab is an isolated environment outside of production that enables several capabilities.
The first is recovery verification. Veeam automatically starts a VM backup or replica in a Virtual Lab and verifies its recoverability. The second capability is universal application-item recovery. Veeam starts an application in a Virtual Lab directly from a backup or a replica and restores application objects back to production. The third capability combines testing, training and troubleshooting. The IT team can test software upgrades in a Virtual Lab before putting them into production. Virtual Lab also serves as a training area and as a safe place to troubleshoot issues.
New strategy delivers fast, easy backup and recovery
Veeam Backup & Replication was built for virtualization and provides modern data protection for Drake Software. Veeam replaced the tool that backed up the physical server running Exchange and the tool that backed up VMs.
“Veeam impressed us so much that we decided to virtualize Exchange for better backup and recovery,” Hubbs said. “Veeam succeeded in doing exactly what it promised with our Exchange backups, and now we trust Veeam for our entire virtual environment.”
Affordable solution is easy to deploy and use
Veeam Backup & Replication is agentless, so Drake Software doesn’t have to waste time and money deploying agents and their updates in VMs. With a single license and from a unified console, Veeam protects the virtual environment with fast backup and granular recovery.
Proven technology puts backups to work
From a Veeam backup, Drake Software can verify its recoverability, restore individual objects from any virtualized application and test software updates before putting them into production.
“If you’re not already using Veeam, you’re missing out,” Hubbs said. “Just like VMware vSphere and Cisco UCS, no one was ever fired for purchasing Veeam. Veeam really does deliver.”