Over the last decade, due to the discovery of large quantities of natural gas, Israel has undergone a gas revolution, transforming from a net importer of fossil fuels to being self-sufficient, with natural gas now providing 65% of the country’s electricity needs. At the helm of this revolution has been Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources which employs prudent strategic, economic and technical planning to effectively manage natural resources and promote sustainable growth of the sector.
With research activities and cooperation with other ministries and regulatory bodies, international organizations and academia being central to the ministry’s operations, IT is a fundamental business enabler.
“We are an organization of over 450 employees and IT is critical to empowering each of them to carry out their daily work. Availability is paramount and any downtime would result in an immediate impact on productivity and the services and support we deliver to other entities and organizations,” said Nir Zentner, CIO, Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.
Moreover, as a government entity, the ministry must strictly adhere to regulations. Among these government mandates is the need to ensure that all applications and data are reliably backed up and protected against downtime and unforeseen circumstances.
“We did a comparative analysis between Veeam and a global competitor that also has a pronounced presence in the Middle East,” said Ilan Lugasi, CTO of the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.
“But, we found considerable differences in ease of use as the latter was extremely complicated. Veeam on the other hand was very intuitive and user friendly, something that our admins appreciate on a daily basis. We therefore went with Veeam from the very beginning.”
As the ministry’s IT requirements have evolved over the years, the IT team has been able to effectively adapt their usage of Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam Management Pack.
“Initially, we were using Veeam to back up our on-premises servers and export data to tape,” Naor Brig, Systems Administrator, Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources said.
But as new government regulations called for the ministry to establish a disaster recovery (DR) center, the IT team found that the solution’s flexibility enabled them to easily accommodate this use case as well.
“Today, we rely on Veeam to back up over 60 terabytes of data per day and replicate over 50 terabytes daily,” Brig said.
Similarly, over the years, the ministry has steadily increased the extent of virtualization of its environment with confidence in the Veeam solution’s ability to effectively manage virtual workloads.
“90% of our environment is now virtual and this of course has helped us control our energy footprint, optimize operational expenses and scale operations without need for ongoing hardware investments,” said Lugasi.
Today, all the ministry’s applications, including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server, are backed up using Veeam Backup & Replication.
“Two weeks ago, an employee mistakenly erased a list on our SharePoint server,” said Lugasi.
While Microsoft advised his team that only a database restore would be possible, Lugasi and Brig knew they could count on Veeam’s applicationaware backup processing.
“With Veeam, we were able to restore just the list back to SharePoint which worked perfectly and helped mitigate a potentially disastrous situation,” Lugasi said. “This incident made key stakeholders in our organization realize the power and value of Veeam.”
The power and ease of use of Veeam’s solutions enable the ministry’s IT team to confidently and consistently manage backups and the availability of applications and data with little oversight.
“Once the solution is configured, it just works,” said Brig. “This is extremely beneficial, especially from a reporting and regulatory perspective.”
Using Veeam Management Pack, the IT team can monitor and manage the entire virtual environment via the single “morning coffee” dashboard.
As a result, the IT team collectively spends no more than four hours a week on tasks related to the Veeam solution.
“When required, Veeam gives us the ability to restore everything in just a few clicks. Everything is perfect and that’s high-value for me and my team as it gives us the time for everything else,” Lugasi said.
“Data is the new oil, and we are offering this valuable resource to international organizations as a means to attract foreign investment,” Zentner said. “The vast amounts of data that we have collected from geological surveys are highly desirable to large scale drilling companies that are keen to set up facilities based on the detailed information we are able to provide them with.”
The ministry now intends to build on its ongoing success with Veeam over the next year and plans to enhance business continuity by operating its primary data center and DR site in active-active mode.
“Veeam’s solution has consistently proved its value by enabling us to constantly adapt and scale our deployment in line with new requirements and our evolving IT strategy,” said Zentner.
“We have a strong relationship with Veeam and receive exceptional service from both the sales, technical and support teams,” said Zentner. “In my position, I typically speak directly with the CEOs and CTOs of the technology providers we work with, but with Veeam, we do not require this as our local team itself is deeply committed to ensuring we are completely satisfied with our deployment.”
Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources is the governmental body that’s responsible for all of Israel’s energy sectors and its natural resources. This includes electricity, fuel, LPG, natural gas, conservation of energy, water, sewage, petroleum explorations, minerals, earth science, marine research and more. The ministry supervises all the public and private bodies that operate in these fields while also regulating the market, protecting the consumer and protecting the environment.
With research and development and cooperation with other ministries and regulatory bodies, international organizations and academia being central to the ministry’s operations, IT is a fundamental business enabler. Because of government regulations and the fact that any application downtime or loss of data could bring the ministry’s operations to a standstill, having a solution that could ensure application availability and rapid and reliable backup of data is crucial.