The Business Challenge
The entire IT infrastructure at Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated is virtualized on VMware vSphere. The company’s IT team, located at the corporate office in Abbeville, Alabama, backs up its 55 virtual machines (VMs) to a site two miles away. The team also replicates VMs to a disaster recovery (DR) site 200 miles away.
When managing VM backup and replication required more than 20 hours of his time each week, Brooks Barnes, Systems Administrator for Great Southern, began looking for a new solution.
“I was spending half my work life managing backup and replication, which wasn’t the best use of my time,” he said. “The tool we were using wasn’t meeting our needs — it was slow and unreliable. I felt like I was often troubleshooting a backup job, trying to figure out why it suddenly stopped working. Or I was deleting a failed replica and starting a new replication job. We needed an easy-to-use solution that we could set up and forget about. We needed a VM backup and replication solution that was fast and reliable.”
The Veeam Solution
The IT team chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™. It combines backup and replication in a single solution and provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
Barnes no longer spends half of his workweek managing VM backup and replication. “Veeam has been so much more reliable than the previous tool,” he said. “Backup and replication jobs run reliably and complete successfully. Veeam takes very little of my time — maybe an hour or two a week. The only time I spend is setting up a new VM, gathering reports for my manager or testing an occasional software update. With Veeam, we’re on cruise control.”
Barnes said Veeam backups, a full VM restore and file-level recovery are faster than the previous tool. “With faster backups, we can back up more frequently, which gives us more restore points. Users sometimes delete files they haven’t used in weeks, and Veeam’s multiple restore points come in handy,” he said.
The IT team also uses Veeam Backup & Replication to recover Microsoft Active Directory user accounts. Veeam’s U-AIR™ (Universal Application-Item Recovery) capability lets the team recover individual objects from any virtualized application without using additional agents, backups or software tools.
In addition, Veeam’s On-Demand Sandbox capability lets the team run VMs from backups in a Virtual Lab for training and testing purposes. “Veeam’s On-Demand Sandbox was a huge selling point for my boss. Before deploying ERP security updates, it’s critically important to see how they will affect users,” Barnes said. “Veeam lets us test patches and upgrades so easily.”
Fast, reliable VM replication is equally important to the company. “Veeam replication means stable DR for us,” Barnes said. “Before Veeam, replication jobs often failed, so we had to delete the replica from disk and start over. Not only were we without a replica, but it took hours to get a new replica to our DR site.”
Barnes said reliable replication is indispensable during company acquisitions too. “Acquiring a company often results in disjointed IT systems. With Veeam, we’re able to replicate the company’s VMs to our corporate data center. In addition to the money we save shipping servers to our corporate office, we get immediate access to the acquired company’s data, which is vital for a successful transition.”
Reduced time spent managing backup and replication jobs
Before deploying Veeam, Barnes spent more than 20 hours each week managing VM backup and replication. With Veeam, it takes him one to two hours each week. “In our experience to date, Veeam is faster than anything else out there,” he said. “And, you won’t spend any time banging your head against the wall because backup and replication jobs aren’t completing.”
Recovering individual objects and testing software updates are easy
The IT team uses Veeam Backup & Replication to recover individual objects from virtualized applications, such as Microsoft Active Directory, and to create VMs in a Virtual Lab for training and testing.
Streamlined onboarding of acquired companies
After Great Southern acquires a company, its IT team uses Veeam to replicate the new company’s VMs to Great Southern’s corporate data center, giving it immediate access to the new data.