The Business Challenge
noris network AG is one of the pioneers in the field of modern IT services in Germany. Founded in 1993, the company offers its customers the entire range of tailor-made IT services - from classic outsourcing to managed services, cloud services and colocation services. The technological basis for these services is a high-performance IT infrastructure with noris network’s own high-performance backbone and several high-security data centers. The service provider’s data centers in Nuremberg South and Munich East are among the most modern and energy-efficient data centers in Europe.
In its data centers, noris network operates IT solutions for over 1,000 different companies, including well-known brands such as adidas, Check24, easyCredit, Miles & More and Puma. Many of these customers have the highest demands on the availability of their IT applications and the security of their data. All business processes at noris network are therefore certified according to quality and security standards such as ISO/IEC 20000-1, ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO 9001.
“Today, our data centers run, among other things, highly frequented web shops, business-critical web services or banking applications that are subject to strict compliance requirements,” explains Mattis Richter, system administrator at noris network. “Our aim is to provide every customer with optimum service quality for his/her business and to comprehensively secure IT operations.”
noris network was therefore looking for a powerful technology to provide around 10,000 hosted virtual machines with high availability in its data centers. In addition, the service provider wanted to be able to offer its customers individual backup and disaster recovery services. “When selecting technology partners, we focus above all on the needs of our customers,” says Richter. “High reliability, easy manageability and a transparent, economical cost model were therefore the most important criteria for our decision.”
The Veeam Solution
noris network decided to join the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider Program (VCSP) and strategically develop its business with the Veeam solutions for backup and data management. “We were convinced by Veeam’s technological capabilities as well as the offerings for us as a service provider,” explains Richter. “Veeam really understood how our business works and is helping us to become even more successful as a service provider.”
Veeam Backup & Replication is now set as an availability platform at noris network. Over 90 percent of the virtual machines in the shared infrastructure of the service provider are secured with the solution today - regardless of whether they run on VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V. The total data volume of these systems is in the double-digit petabyte range. noris network benefits from the flexible storage options of Veeam technology and stores backup data as required on CIFS shares, NFS shares or block-based storage systems from NetApp and Fujitsu. In addition, noris network operates its own object storage based on ceph, which can also be used as a backup repository thanks to Veeam’s flexibility.
“Even in the standard edition, the Veeam solution comes with numerous powerful functions with which we can ensure high availability of the customer’s systems,” says the system administrator. “A key feature for us is Instant VM Recovery. This enables us to restart failed virtual machines directly from the backup - within minutes. Even the most stringent RTO requirements from customers in the financial sector can be easily met in this way.”
Granular recovery of individual application objects is also possible with Veeam. For example, noris network’s support staff can use the Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange to make e-mails available again very quickly if they have been accidentally deleted by the customer.
The service provider also uses the Cloud Connect functions of Veeam Backup & Replication to offer its customers cloud backup and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). The setup is very simple: the customer selects the noris network infrastructure as the backup repository and can then simply backs up his/her local data and applications in the service provider’s data centers. Physical Windows or Linux computers can also be integrated into the availability concept via Veeam Agent. On request, noris network can even implement a complete disaster recovery strategy. All the necessary server, storage and network resources are made available to the customer so that business-critical systems can be restarted quickly in the event of a disaster.
One customer who relies on noris network’s backup and disaster recovery service is Agenda Informationssysteme GmbH & Co. KG. The company develops software for tax consultants and has more than 18,000 customers throughout Germany. “We have outsourced the backup of our VMware infrastructure and today have more than 700 virtual machines backed up by noris network according to individual retention guidelines,” explains Tobias Täuber, Head of IT Solutions, Basis & Operations at Agenda. In addition, the software manufacturer also replicates locally operated VMs via Veeam Cloud Connect. “In the event of a total failure, we could restore the environment in a private cloud at noris and thus be reachable again for our customers in the shortest possible time,” says Täuber.
Veeam’s Cloud Connect technology also helps the service provider with another task: “We use this function to move complete customer environments from the on-premise infrastructure to our data centers. Even very large environments with huge amounts of data can be transferred efficiently and reliably,” says Richter.
Veeam offers numerous options for handling very sensitive data. In addition to the end-to-end encryption of backup files, this includes the insider protection function for defending against internal attacks. This prevents persons who have gained unauthorized access to the environment from being able to delete backup files irretrievably. “We have already demonstrated in several audits that Veeam can also meet the highest security and data protection requirements - for example in the financial sector,” confirms the system administrator.
As a VCSP partner, noris network also benefits from a flexible licensing model. The rental licenses that the service provider makes available to its customers are billed on a usage basis. Neither for the customer nor for noris network are there any initial license costs - only the VMs actually secured are invoiced monthly.
The more customers use the solution, the lower the price: Veeam offers service providers attractive volume discounts of 15 to 45 percent on the rental licenses. Via the free management platform Veeam Service Provider Console, noris network always has an overview of the license usage of the individual customers and can invoice the services directly.
“We are completely satisfied with Veeam’s support,” sums up Mattis Richter. “The technical support is excellent, and our sales contacts react immediately when we need offers or demo licenses. In the future, we also want to make even greater use of the possibilities offered by the Veeam Service Provider Console. Our goal is to automate workflows as far as possible and to offer our customers more self-services for backup and recovery of their data.”
- Reliable data management for customers with the highest requirements:
noris network works for numerous banks, insurance companies and other companies in highly regulated industries. Veeam functions such as Instant VM Recovery, insider protection and end-to-end encryption help the service provider to meet the high security and availability requirements of its customers.
- Transparent, economical cost model:
As a VCSP partner, noris network can offer its customers rental licenses at very favorable and flexible conditions. Automatically generated usage reports within the Veeam Service Provider Console simplify billing for the services provided.
- Comprehensive support as part of the VCSP program:
noris network can access Veeam’s technical support around the clock free of charge and has direct contact persons for all questions concerning the sales and marketing of Veeam solutions. In addition, the company has comprehensive information resources on solution design and reference architectures at its disposal.