The Business Challenge
Playtech Estonia is the first and largest development center of Playtech Ltd and employs more than 500 people. The IT team manages eight data centers that support approximately 1,400 users, and it is responsible for backing up a minimum of four terabytes of data daily. Reliable data access is critical, and users rely on data availability 24/7. The IT infrastructure includes 120 VMware ESX hosts and approximately 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) that run Oracle databases, critical Microsoft applications such as Exchange, SharePoint and Visual Studio, and Microsoft Systems Center, which includes Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and Operations Manager 2007 R2.
Conventional agent-based backup of the VMs was a long and laborious process. The IT team had to install an agent on each VM and ensure that every VM backed up successfully every time. “In addition to spending time with agents, we also spent a lot of time physically transporting the off-site backup tape. We used a very time-consuming process that took at least three hours every week just to physically transport the offsite backup tapes. Then we had to install them to the tape library and look for the information we needed to restore,” explained Tonis Leissoo, Systems Administrator, Playtech Estonia. “It was a vicious circle. It was difficult to use the tape library for restore jobs because it was busy making backups, and it was almost impossible to schedule restore jobs because of the busy tape library. In addition, weekly backups took more than 12 hours to complete, often running into production hours and affecting users and business productivity, as some services slowed during the night and in the early mornings.”
Leissoo and his colleagues knew they needed a more efficient backup system. They wanted a SAN-based, agentless solution that included capabilities such as fast and efficient backups, data deduplication and replication. Above all, they needed a solution that enabled always-on data availability and operated without disruption to users.
The Veeam Solution
The IT team chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ over other solutions that team members evaluated because it is agentless, fully supports the virtual environment, and ensures that data is always available. Playtech worked with Net Group Ltd, a leading Estonian IT services consulting firm and Veeam Gold ProPartner, to implement the Veeam solution.
“We were glad to help Playtech solve their business-relevant problems,” said Aleksei Räim, Manager of IT Infrastructure Solutions Division at Net Group. “The close collaboration of Net Group, Veeam and Playtech representatives proceeded fluently and according to plan. Net Group is always ready to cooperate, whenever efficient backup solutions are required.”
Veeam products are built specifically for the virtual environment, unlike many backup systems that only adapt legacy products to it. From the outset, Veeam Backup & Replication proved to be a significant improvement over the timeintensive process the IT team previously employed to back up VMs. “Right off the bat, the Veeam solution made life easier for our admins, as well as our users,” Leissoo said. “First, backups with Veeam are 10 times faster. What used to take 12 hours now takes about an hour and a half with Veeam. On the average, it takes our administrators only10 minutes a day to deal with backups, and there is absolutely no effect on server performance, and, thus, no impact to our users. Furthermore, administrators no longer have to physically transport the backup tapes from off-site storage to the tape library. In addition, Veeam allows us to perform a full VM restore at least 10 times faster than the tape restore method we were using. What once took us five hours to complete can now be accomplished in under an hour.”
The IT team also performs backups more frequently. “Before Veeam, we backed up our data once a day, but Veeam enables a four-hour backup policy for all the VMs,” Leissoo noted. “This ensures that we have readily available copies should any data on the file servers be accidentally deleted.”
File-level recovery is also more efficient. “File-level recovery has increased more than 10-fold,“ Leissoo said. “Before, if we wanted to restore files that were over a week old, we had to go to the data bank and retrieve the tapes, take them to the data center, insert them in the tape library, rewind, restore full backups and THEN restore incrementals. This process took about three to four hours. With Veeam it only takes 30-40 minutes to restore large graphic files.”
Veeam’s built-in deduplication and compression capabilities are also important to Playtech and saves the company money. Veeam cuts backup storage requirements by compressing backup and network traffic and eliminating duplicate blocks of data. “Thanks to the deduplication and compression Veeam offers, we can back up more than six terabytes of data in less than two terabytes of disk space, Leissoo explained. That saves us about $32,000 in storage costs each year.”
Replication is key for Playtech. “Veeam provides two-in-one backup and replication, which is a major asset,” Leissoo said. Leissoo estimates that it would cost the company approximately $100,000 per day should the whole data center go down. “This is no exaggeration,” Leissoo said. “We depend on the availability of our data and communications to run our company. We have the peace of mind that, should an unfortunate disaster occur, Veeam Backup & Replication will allow us to restore the data in hours rather than days or weeks.”
More efficient backup solution saves time and resources, offers 24/7 data availability Veeam Backup & Replication performs VM backups at least 10 times faster than Playtech’s previous backup system, and eliminates a long and laborious process that was both inefficient and time-consuming. This ensures that critical communications and data are always available to Playtech’s business users, and they never suffer a disruption in productivity – services are always available and there is never a slow-down.
Continuous data protection with less downtime results in signification cost savingsVeeam’s two-in-one backup and replication gives the IT staff confidence that, should the data center go down, they can restore critical data and services within hours. This translates to approximately $100,000 per day saved in downtime costs should a disaster occur.
Decreased backup storage requirements reduce operating costs
Veeam Backup & Replication’s built-in deduplication and compression cuts storage requirements. Playtech can now back up more than six terabytes of data into less than two terabytes of storage space, which equates to a savings of $32,000 a year in storage costs.