ALK

Company:

ALK is a global, research-driven pharmaceutical company focusing on allergy prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Headquartered in Hørsholm, Denmark, ALK employs approximately 2,000 people and has subsidiaries, production facilities and distributors worldwide.

Challenge:

More than half a million patients around the world depend on ALK’s products for treatment. Subsequently ALK, like all pharmaceutical companies, must test critical IT systems for DR each year. DR testing was a challenge with the legacy backup tool because it disturbed ALK’s lines of business and threatened productivity.

ALK’s legacy backup tool presented an additional challenge: inadequate visibility into the virtualised environment. When system owners requested additional CPU and memory, the IT team didn’t know if their requests were warranted because native monitoring and reporting were limited. ALK didn’t want to spend unnecessary time and effort substantiating these requests.

Results:

  • Provides 24x7 availability
  • Restores failed VMs in minutes
  • Saves time and effort through full visibility

The Business Challenge

ALK is a world leader in allergy immunotherapy — a treatment of the underlying cause of allergy. ALK’s goal is to improve the quality of life for allergy sufferers by researching and developing new, evidence-based drugs for allergy immunotherapy. ALK’s product portfolio includes each type of immunotherapy treatment as well as products for diagnosing allergies and treating acute, life-threatening allergic reactions.

More than half a million people around the world depend on ALK’s products for treatment each year. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies including ALK must test their critical IT systems for disaster recovery (DR) each year. For ALK, this means testing 30 critical systems, including one that monitors freezer temperatures. If that system fails and freezer temperatures vary, the products in those freezers may have to be discarded.

DR testing presented a challenge to ALK because it disturbed the company’s lines of business and threatened productivity. The root of the problem was the legacy backup tool. It didn’t ensure 24x7 availability of critical systems during DR testing because recovering VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) running those critical systems was a long and labourious process. Without 24x7 availability, it was hard to meet service level agreements (SLAs) with business units. Without 24x7 availability, productivity was at risk. DR testing took 80 days each year with the legacy backup tool.

To compound the availability issue, ALK’s data was growing by 30% every two years, and the legacy backup tool could not accommodate data growth. It also didn’t support Windows 2012 Server, which ALK was implementing.

The Veeam Solution

DR testing with Veeam® Backup & Replication™ protects ALK’s lines of business and boosts productivity. DR testing with Veeam takes only 20 days each year.

“Our first experience with Veeam was during a test installation, and a few hours later, we were absolutely convinced it was perfect for us,” said Lars Simonsen, IT Consultant at ALK. “Veeam lets us conduct DR testing without disturbing our lines of business, delivers 24x7 availability so our employees always have access to critical IT systems and lets me assure the business that our backups and replicas are 100% recoverable.”

DR testing with Veeam is fast and easy because Veeam automatically verifies the recoverability of VM backups and replicas. Veeam’s SureBackup® and SureReplica start a backup or replica in an isolated environment called a Virtual Lab. Veeam performs a series of tests against the backup or replica and creates a report on its state and condition.

“Knowing your backups and replicas have completed successfully is one thing, but knowing you can recover from them in minutes is incredible,” Simonsen said.

With Veeam, the IT team doesn’t spend up to four hours each day rerunning failed backups and trying to recover files. Instead, the team easily meets SLAs with business units, regardless of data growth.

“Recovery with Veeam is very fast,” Simonsen said. ‘We used Veeam to restore a VM in five minutes following a virus incident. Recovery with the legacy backup tool might have taken up to two days.”

Simonsen used Instant VM Recovery® to restore a failed VM from a regular backup in minutes.

ALK was so pleased with Veeam Backup & Replication that the IT team deployed Veeam ONE™ to gain complete visibility of its virtualised environment.

“Before we deployed Veeam ONE, system owners contacted us once or twice a week to request more CPU or memory, but we had no way of knowing if their requests were justified because we didn’t have proper monitoring and reporting,” Simonsen said. “Now we have Veeam ONE running live on a big screen in our data centre, and we can see what’s going on in their systems. We’ve taken a proactive approach by sending them daily reports of their usage.”

Veeam ONE can also help ALK categorise VMs by business unit for capacity planning. The IT team will see the number of VMs, memory and storage used by each business unit, which will help with budget preparation.

“We’ve been so pleased with every part of Veeam, including technical support,” Simonsen said. “The first time we sent an email asking for help, we received a reply within eight minutes.”

The Results

Provides 24x7 availability
DR testing is fast and easy for ALK because Veeam Backup & Replication automatically verifies the recoverability of VM backups and replicas. Meeting SLAs is fast and easy for ALK because Veeam recovers whole VMs, files and individual items in minutes.

Restores failed VMs in minutes
Veeam recovered a failed VM in five minutes following a virus incident. The legacy tool might have taken days to recover that same VM.

Saves time and effort through full visibility
Before Veeam ONE was implemented, ALK didn’t know if system owners’ requests for more CPU and memory were warranted. Veeam ONE delivers powerful monitoring and reporting that give ALK all the information needed before expanding systems.

Why Veeam?

Why choose Veeam solutions

Try now

Veeam Availability Suite
free 30-day trial

How to buy

Licensing and buying options