The Business Challenge
Takeda UK Ltd. is based in Buckinghamshire, but many of its employees work remotely both nationally and internationally in the United States, Japan or elsewhere in Europe. The IT team supports every employee and ensures they have access to company data from anywhere at any time. “We must be absolutely confident that our staff can get what they need whenever they need it,” said Richard Taylor, ICT Director for Takeda UK.
Takeda UK began the move to virtualization in 2006, and now nearly 100 percent of its servers are virtualized. Fewer than 10 traditional physical servers remain, and they run legacy applications that are not mission-critical and can’t be virtualized for one reason or another. The IT infrastructure includes 50 virtual machines (VMs) that run all critical applications and databases, including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Active Directory and a number of specialized medical and business intelligence databases.
The most critical areas of IT support are in disaster recovery and business continuity, so downtime is not an option. Several agencies govern the pharmaceutical industry and mandate rigid legal requirements for documentation that must be met without delay. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences. “If downtime prevents us from complying with our regulatory responsibilities, it is enough to shut down the company,” explained Taylor. “The regulatory authorities have the power to enforce various sanctions which includes the removal of marketing authorisations, and there is nothing more severe than that for a sales and marketing company.”
The VM backup solution that Takeda UK used prior to Veeam was inconsistent and slow. “We really couldn’t rely on our backups,” he said. “In addition, backup speed was an issue. It got to the point where there was really no backup window. Backups took so long that one backup ran into another, and that caused serious issues.”
That’s when the IT team set out to find a more efficient backup option. Taylor and his colleagues wanted to find one technology that would eliminate the need for multiple systems and enable them to meet there recovery point and time objectives. They had been using a virtualization-specific backup tool along with various agents in their physical backup system to ensure that servers and applications were fully protected. They focused on the following criteria during the evaluation process: point-in-time recovery; backup and recovery speed; consistency of backups; verification of backups; and item-level restore capabilities.
The Veeam Solution
VTakeda UK looked at a variety of general and virtualization-specific options, but the IT team had difficulty finding one that met all of its needs. Vcentral, a Gold-level Veeam ProPartner and leading solutions provider that specializes in virtualization technologies, suggested Takeda take a look at Veeam Backup & Replication™.
“We were initially skeptical of the Veeam solution because the price was so much lower than we expected,” Taylor said. “We thought we would have to invest significantly more money for a solution that would meet all our requirements. But Vcentral was very positive about the product, so we tested it, and the results confirmed that Veeam was the ideal choice for us.”
Veeam Backup & Replication addresses Takeda’s most urgent need: compliance with regulatory requirements dictated by the pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to vPower™, the innovative technology in Veeam Backup & Replication that runs a VM directly from a backup file, Takeda can automatically verify the recoverability of every backup of its 50 VMs – a capability Veeam calls SureBackup™. In case of an audit, the ability to verify backups is vital. According to Taylor, “Veeam eliminated the uncertainty and inconsistency we previously experienced. Right out of the box, this software allows us to check the consistency of our backups. I can’t stress enough how important that is.”
Taylor continued, “Before Veeam, the speed of our backups was causing serious issues. Now, we don’t even think about it, it just happens, and it is at least 10 times faster than our previous backup tool. File-level recovery is so fast that it’s no longer a consideration. It takes under 10 minutes, whereas before it might take up to half a day to find what we needed.”
The broad capabilities of Veeam Backup & Replication let the Takeda IT team consolidate its many backup tools. With Veeam, Takeda was able to remove application-level backup systems. Now Veeam backs up everything, including physical servers. (Takeda exports configuration and other important data from legacy systems to file servers, and then backs up those file servers with Veeam Backup & Replication.) Taylor noted, “We were using different agents to back up different databases and applications. Having one Veeam solution is much more efficient, makes the process simpler, and reduces administrative oversight considerably.”
Replicates VMs between disparate storage systems
SureBackup automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup of Takeda’s 50 VMs. It gives the IT team confidence that they can comply with regulatory requirements without undue delays.
Enables fast daily backups of all VMs
Veeam Backup & Replication performs VM backups at least 10 times faster than Takeda’s previous backup tool. The IT team can perform daily backups of all VMs and more frequent backups of critical VMs. The team uses Robust File Copy to copy Veeam’s disk-based backups to the company’s disaster recovery (DR) site.
Provides granular recovery for all applications and file systems
Veeam Backup & Replication automates the recovery verification process. Backups complete on time, every time, with 100 percent reliability as verified by SureBackup.