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.
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.”
OMICRON is a global company that develops and markets innovative testing, diagnostic and monitoring solutions for electrical power supply. The company was founded in 1984 in Austria and today employs more than 700 people across 24 locations worldwide. Customers in more than 160 countries use OMICRON’s products, solutions and services for the safe and efficient generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy.
First-class customer service and 24/7 technical support are OMICRON’s top priorities. OMICRON’s global service centers, as well as developers and sales teams, need 24/7 access to data and applications to support customers around the world.