The Business challenge
OMICRON was founded more than 30 years ago in a small town in Austria. The company
began developing compact equipment for testing protection and measuring equipment
in electrical power systems. Since then, a small team of enthusiastic engineers has grown
into an international company with 24 subsidiaries worldwide and customers in more
than 160 countries.
Although the company’s range of products and services has grown enormously over
this period, some things have remained constant: OMICRON helps its customers keep
track of their electrical power systems and equipment, enabling it to make an important
contribution to safe and reliable generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy.
OMICRON not only provides the necessary hardware, but also offers customers
a wide range of services in the areas of commissioning, consulting, training and support.
Service centers all over the world are available around the clock and highly qualified
technicians support customers.
“Utilities, industrial companies and many other customers from the global energy
industry rely on our support every day,” says Bernd Flatz, Team Leader IT Infrastructure
at OMICRON. “We must therefore ensure that our specialists always have access
to all necessary applications.”
OMICRON’s central IT infrastructure has grown significantly in recent years. The company’s
data center currently runs more than 750 virtual VMware vSphere machines with a total
volume of 270 TB. A driver for the enormous data growth is the internal development
department, which creates applications to support customer processes.
“We are now one of the largest software manufacturers in Austria with around 200
developers,” reports Flatz. “A large part of our business intelligence is located
in the development department. This is why it is so important that applications like
the Team Foundation Server for code management are always reliably available.”
However, IT availability requirements have not only increased in the data center
and OMICRON subsidiaries: there are mobile employees in sales and customer
service who do a lot of their work on the road. The IT department must ensure
the data on the laptops of these employees is reliably backed up and can be quickly
recovered if the device is lost.
“Consequently, we were looking for a solution that would enable us to integrate
our complex requirements into a uniform data management solution — as simply
and reliably as possible,” summarizes Flatz.
The Veeam’s Solution
OMICRON opted for a phased deployment of Veeam’s® data management solution
in its IT infrastructure. Initially, Veeam Backup & Replication™ were used in the branch
offices for local backup and fast recovery of VMs. To enable redundant recovery,
the branch offices transfer copies of the backups to OMICRON’s primary data center.
The integrated WAN Acceleration of the Veeam solution minimizes bandwidth
requirements — important for branch offices with a rather narrow network connection.
If a branch office experiences a complete failure of its IT infrastructure, the primary
data center restores the VMs from a backup copy. This gives local employees access
to their applications and data very quickly.
For the next step, OMICRON replaced all existing backup tools in the primary data
center with Veeam Backup & Replication. The close integration possibilities with NetApp’s
storage infrastructure, which is now based on AFF8080 All-Flash systems, were
also used. The Veeam solution enables backups to be created directly from storage
snapshots, ensuring the performance of the production systems is not impaired
during data backup.
This simultaneously increased the number of recovery points. The SQL servers,
for example, which are accessed by business-critical systems such as CRM, ERP
and warehouse management, are now backed up hourly. Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft
SQL also enables rapid recovery of SQL databases at the transaction level. If a problem
occurs on any server, OMICRON can restore all systems to exactly the same point in time.
Agentless transaction logs allow users to specify exactly to which second or transaction
the systems should be reset. “This enables us to restore our business-critical systems
to the state they were in immediately before a problem occurred, which minimizes
the risk of data loss and ensures reliable business processes,” says Flatz.
OMICRON also uses the granular recovery capabilities of Veeam for other applications
such as Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory and SharePoint. With Veeam Explorers,
the company can restore individual files and application objects within minutes.
Whether a support representative accidentally deleted an email or a SharePoint site
for developers needs to be restored, Veeam Explorers can help: OMICRON uses Veeam
to ensure that employees always have access to the resources they need to do their jobs.
This now includes the company’s mobile users. With the Veeam Agent for Microsoft
Windows, OMICRON backs up data on the Windows-based laptops of its field staff.
“It is common for mobile devices to be stolen or lost on business trips. With the Veeam
solution, our employees can then very quickly restore their complete system on a replacement
computer — no matter where in the world they are currently working,” states Flatz.
The IT team leader appreciates that the solution adapts to the working methods
of the individual employees. It can be specified that backups are only transmitted
to OMICRON’s data center if the user is in a WLAN, for example. The CPU consumption
of the backup processes can also be throttled automatically if the computer is busy
with other tasks.
“The backup of laptops and other physical computers in our infrastructure is another
important component of our availability strategy,” summarizes Flatz. “Here, too,
we notice that Veeam always focuses on the user when developing its solutions.
Our IT team has repeatedly confirmed how easy it is to manage backups and restores
with Veeam. Thanks to the user-friendly operation and mature technology, we save
hundreds of hours of administration and training every year.”
- Maximum IT availability for 24/7 technical support in 160 countries
OMICRON’s customers play an important role in global power supply and depend
on reliable 24/7 support. With Veeam Backup & Replication, the company ensures
that its technical specialists have round-the-clock access to all the IT resources
they need. Failed virtual machines can be restarted from the backup within minutes
with Instant VM Recovery™. With the help of Veeam Explorer, OMICRON can also
quickly restore individual objects from NetApp Storage Snapshots, Active Directory,
Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint.
- Reduction of administrative effort by several hundred hours per years
The ease of use of the Veeam solution and the many functions for Intelligent Data
Management save OMICRON’s IT teams a lot of time and effort. Administrators can now
backup and restore all virtual and physical workloads from a central management
interface. The recoverability of virtual resources is automatically checked
with Veeam SureBackup®. OMICRON was thus able to reduce the ongoing support
effort by several hundred hours per year.
- Increased endpoint data security for hundreds of mobile users
OMICRON now also uses the Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows to systematically
back up data and applications from laptops and make them quickly available again
when needed. The company thus protects the integrity of data on mobile devices
and supports flexible working styles: even if their device is lost, field staff and other
mobile users can resume work very quickly.