The Business Challenge
Eugen Kieffer Gebäudereinigung (Kieffer), based in Steinheim, Germany, runs the IT infrastructure for the entire company including its subsidiaries. Its facilities include file servers, typical office applications and email communication systems. The company’s administration places particular importance on financial management and payroll accounting. About 30 employees are responsible for payroll wages and payroll accounting for the approximately 1,500 employees. The company’s branch offices are connected to the head office via a Citrix terminal server.
Until 2012 the company used physical servers running Microsoft Windows Server operating systems. But with the growing business requirements daily, this setup was reaching its limits. This caused conflicts between different services operating on the same physical machine. This sometimes affected the print server and operation of the database, for example when these roles were consolidated on the same physical server. Because of the high workload, system maintenance often had to be pushed back to evenings or overnight so it would not disrupt the usual work. For Kieffer and the IT service provider, abakus it, these limitations were a reason to re-examine the server infrastructure and seek a better solution.
Michael Heidler, Kieffer’s IT manager explained the situation as follows: “We had to adapt our IT environment to ensure that daily processes would run smoothly and system maintenance, including backup processes, would be available during normal working hours.”
Because Heidler and his service provider abakus it had extensive experience with Microsoft Windows Server, the decision was made to substantially virtualise their server environment using Microsoft Hyper-V. “We wanted a viable solution that guaranteed flexibility for further growth, while significantly simplifying server operation. Virtualisation with Hyper-V offered that possibility without requiring us to turn our backs on the familiar Windows world we are accustomed to,” Heidler explained.
Jürgen Nagler, abakus it consultant and team leader for infrastructure services also saw the cost advantages of using Hyper-V: “An important reason for choosing Hyper-V was the licensing model, which was far less expensive for Kieffer. Moreover, it was a priority to have a homogenous environment and they already had expertise with Microsoft technologies.”
The Veeam Solution
In early 2012 abakus it converted Kieffer’s IT environment. They started by virtualising the applications that Kieffer’s administration team use on a daily basis. This included the mail server, file server and financial management and payroll accounting, as well as other applications. The new infrastructure covered five physical servers with three Hyper-V hosts and 24 virtual machines, a domain controller and a backup server. As part of the virtualisation process Kieffer’s backup strategy also had to be modernised. Their CA ARCserve-based physical backup solution was not suitable for image-based VM backups and couldn’t make use of the advantages of virtualisation if a restore was necessary.
The strategic partner, abakus it, recommended Veeam® Backup & Replication™ as a backup solution. “Over the years we have used a number of backup and replication solutions in virtualised environments,” Nagler said. “But we have now been using Veeam for a few years. The solution has innovative features, is easy to use and the company further develops its products to match its users’ requirements. And since the introduction of Veeam Backup & Replication for Hyper-V, it is also the best option for Microsoft users like Kieffer.” Kieffer backs up its VMs for flexible recovery options daily. Once a week this data is transferred to tape. The tape is stored in a secure location offsite. Once a month, a full backup of all the VMs is created.
Since Veeam Backup & Replication was deployed there hasn’t been an emergency that would have required data to be recovered. But, after testing, Kieffer‘s IT manager Michael Heidler was confident: “If the day were to come, we can rely on the system.” IT consultant Jürgen Nagler added: “Veeam Backup & Replication just does exactly what it claims. Installation was straightforward and it is easy to use. And we also intend to roll out its additional features, such as SureBackup® and Virtual Lab for replicas as soon as they are available for Hyper-V.”
Eugen Kieffer has seen for itself that Veeam Backup & Replication is an easy-to-use and reliable data backup solution for the virtualised server environment. It can be used in daily operations without costly training from IT specialists. Virtualisation has made it possible to conduct maintenance during working hours and Veeam Backup & Replication’s excellent performance enables extensive backup in a much shorter window. Plus, the company’s productivity can be quickly restored even if one of the VMs should fail.
“In case of emergency, we aren’t dependent on a lengthy procedure and we don’t need to replace any parts for a physical server. In the past, we could only start restoring a server after four hours at the earliest and even then it took another couple of hours. Virtualisation and Veeam’s solution speeds up the process,” Heidler explained. “The backup system is working wonderfully, is easy to use and will serve its purpose when the time comes.”