Norwegian Cruise Line is the true innovator in cruise travel. In addition to being the first cruise line to introduce Freestyle Cruising® to give guests more freedom and flexibility, Norwegian was the first cruise line to launch a web site and the first line to offer an Internet café, wireless Internet access and cell phone service at sea. Therefore, with the line’s rich history of IT-related innovations, it was no surprise that Norwegian Cruise Line was the first to virtualize its entire IT infrastructure.
More than 1,300 VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) run critical operations onboard every ship and in each onshore office. When the legacy backup tools onboard and onshore couldn’t recover VMs running critical systems fast enough to meet Norwegian Cruise Line’s strict standards, the line’s IT team began looking for a new solution.
The legacy backup tools were restricted to infrequent and slow file-level backup to tape, which made recovering VMs time-consuming and pushed the limits on recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs). The legacy tools also required agents to be installed and managed on each VM, requiring more time, effort and expense.
“Our goal was to find a backup solution that enabled fast, easy and cost-effective recovery of our virtualized applications and data,” said Michael David Perez, Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line. “If we experience an issue with a critical application such as our point-of-sale system, we must restore it in minutes or risk losing sales opportunities. We operate throughout the world, on land and at sea, and we needed a backup and recovery solution that could meet the data protection needs of an enterprise operation.”
Norwegian Cruise Line chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ because it provides modern data protection for virtualized environments. Veeam offers powerful, easy-to-use and affordable agentless, image-level backup and recovery for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
“Veeam gives us a level of recoverability that we’ve never experienced before,” Perez said. “Meeting RTOs and RPOs is not a concern because Veeam lets us recover VMs, files and individual items in minutes, saving time and eliminating risk. It will probably take longer to contact people and let them know we recovered a VM than it will take to actually recover a VM.”
In addition to deploying Veeam, Norwegian Cruise Line implemented HP storage appliances. HP StoreOnce is used onshore and HP StoreVirtual is used on ships to store backups.
The combination of Veeam and HP storage appliances provides advanced recovery capabilities for Norwegian Cruise Line. For example, the IT team uses Veeam Explorer™ for Storage Snapshots to restore VMs and individual items directly from HP StoreVirtual SAN snapshots. Recovery from SAN snapshots takes minutes, making it easy to meet RTOs. SAN snapshots are taken frequently, providing multiple recovery points to meet RPOs. Deduplication capabilities in Veeam and HP storage reduce the amount of space needed for backup storage.
One of the capabilities the IT team looks forward to using is Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange. It provides instant visibility into Exchange backups, search capabilities and quick recovery of individual items.
Meets RTOS and RPOs and eliminates risk
When Norwegian Cruise Line was searching for a better backup and recovery solution, its IT team reviewed several options. “Most of the tools couldn’t meet all of our requirements,” Perez said. “They didn’t provide feature-rich functionality like Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery®, Instant File-Level Recovery and forever-incremental backup for numerous recovery points. If you’re looking for a backup and recovery solution to meet your RTOs and RPOs and help with business continuity, do your research; you’ll find Veeam is your best option.”
Offers optimized recovery and storage capacity utilization
Norwegian Cruise Line chose Veeam Backup & Replication and HP storage appliances to acquire exceptional recovery capabilities and storage capacity. Veeam provides fast and easy granular recovery because files can be recovered from any guest operating and file system directly from an image-level backup. HP storage appliances are optimized for virtualized environments and tightly integrate with the storage management functions of VMware and Microsoft applications to provide continuous data availability and superior storage capacity utilization.
Restores VMs and individual items directly from SAN snapshots
Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots lets the IT team quickly recover any or all of a VM from SAN snapshots, which are taken throughout the day with little impact on production systems. Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange lets the team recover individual items from Exchange backups, such as email, contacts and calendars.