The Business Challenge
Scania vehicles are designed and built to provide customers with maximum
utilisation and minimum cost. To deliver on that promise, Scania Great Britain made
vast investments in its dealer network to expand service outlets, increase staff and
extend operating hours to increase customer access to local sales and repair services.
Raising the bar on customer service meant Scania Great Britain and its dealers
required 24x7 availability of virtualised data and applications; however, the legacy
backup tool did not cooperate.
Scania Great Britain tried to back up its virtual machines (VMs) to tape with the same
tool it had used to back up its physical machines, but the legacy tool could only
perform file-level backup and recovery. Both processes were slow, labour-intensive
and likely to fail.
“Our dealers work almost all the time, so if they need a file restored—day or night—it
must be restored fast,” said Harley Carter, Solutions Architect for Scania Great Britain.
“File-level restore from tape could take hours, and since whole VM restore wasn’t
possible with the legacy backup tool, we had to rebuild VMs from scratch, which
could take days. We quickly realised that the legacy backup tool, which had been
great for physical machine backup, was a waste of time with VMs. We had invested in
virtualisation and felt we should be able to do much more with backups.”
Carter said time-intensive backup and recovery were frustrating with the legacy
backup tool, but nothing compared to the time and cost spent each year on disaster
recovery (DR) testing. Scania Great Britain supports its dealer network through a
main office that focuses on day-to-day business operations and a finance office that
facilitates vehicle financing and insurance. DR testing is required in the finance office
for auditing purposes.
“We spent one week preparing for and executing the DR test,” Carter explained. “We
also spent a good deal of money to have third-party consultants on site to rebuild
VMs and reconfigure applications so we could get back up and running quickly.”
Carter and his colleagues talked to peers in their industry about their frustration with
slow backup, time-intensive recovery and costly DR testing.
“They all recommended the same availability solution,” Carter said.
The Veeam Solution
Scania Great Britain deployed Veeam® Backup & Replication™ to ensure 24x7
availability of virtualised systems for its 2,640 users in the two UK offices and
dealerships. Veeam provides Scania Great Britain with high-speed backup, replication
and recovery as well as quick, easy and free DR testing.
“We were never 100% confident in DR with our legacy backup tool,” Carter said. “We
worried about business continuity and didn’t have peace of mind. With Veeam we’re
100% confident we can recover whatever we’ve backed up, giving us complete peace
of mind. And, DR testing is so fast and simple that we can test as often as we want.
Veeam more than paid for itself during the first DR test.”
DR testing is fast and simple because Veeam Backup & Replication 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.
Carter said he and his colleagues rely on Veeam to validate backups and replicas
for mission-critical VMs in the main office that run the Intranet, network drives,
Microsoft SQL Server, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a business
intelligence (BI) system and a document archiving solution that helps dealers invoice
their customers. They also validate backups and replicas for critical VMs in the finance
office that run a bespoke Oracle-based financial system, the employee clock-in
system and a document archiving solution for legal data. Both offices are almost
completely virtualised on VMware vSphere and contain a total of 90 VMs with 10TB of
“Veeam delivers 24x7 availability,” Carter said. “We can recover whole VMs, files and
items almost instantly, despite our data tripling during the last two years.”
Scania Great Britain uses several high-speed recovery features including Instant VM
Recovery™ to restart a failed VM from a regular backup and Veeam Explorer™ for
Microsoft SQL Server for granular recovery from backups of SQL Server.
"Instant VM Recovery has saved the day for us at least once, and so has Veeam
Explorer,” Carter explained. “Our BI system takes feeds from multiple databases and
does bulk updates over the weekend. Data became corrupted in the system, but
by the time we noticed it, the source files used to conduct the imports had been
removed. Rerunning jobs on the source systems can be intensive and we didn’t want
to do that during the daytime, so we pulled up one of the restore points in Veeam’s
Virtual Lab so that we didn’t impact the live BI VM, and used Veeam Explorer for SQL
Server to recover data. The legacy backup tool does not enable business continuity for
virtualised systems like Veeam does.”
Ensuring multiple restore points is key for Scania Great Britain; therefore, COMPAREX,
a global IT provider and Veeam ProPartner, told Carter about the benefits of Veeam
Backup from Storage Snapshots.
“We began working with Scania Great Britain after they had already deployed Veeam,”
said Andrew Ramgobin, Virtualisation and Storage Lead at COMPAREX. “They were
self-taught and getting a lot out of the solution, but that’s the great thing about
Veeam—there’s always more to help companies get the most from virtualisation.
For example, we told them how to set backup thresholds to reduce IOPs and create
administrative rights for backup engineers. However, our biggest contribution to date
was demonstrating Backup from Storage Snapshots.”
Scania Great Britain backs up and replicates VMs residing on NetApp FAS in the
finance office from storage snapshots. Because there is little to no impact on the
production environment, backups can be made as often as every 15 minutes for
multiple restore points.
VMs in the main office reside on different storage—Dell EqualLogic SANs. That’s not
an issue because Veeam is storage-agnostic. The IT team backs up these VMs daily
using Veeam’s forever forward-incremental backup, which produces a backup chain
that includes the first full backup and a set of forward-incremental backups following
it. After adding a new restore point to the backup chain, Veeam checks the retention
policy set for the job. If Veeam detects an outdated restore point, it removes this point
from the backup chain.
“Veeam is flexible in so many ways, helping us get the most from virtualisation,” Carter
said. “Veeam even copies our backups to tape so we can leverage our tape libraries.”
Peace of mind: Automatic verification of recovery points
“Not only does Veeam give you peace of mind, it also lets you do what you
thought wasn’t possible, like automatic verification of restore points in backups
and replicas,” Carter said. “If you’re going to recover, especially in a DR situation,
you’ve got to have 100% confidence in your availability solution. It has to work
every time. Veeam provides an insurance policy for availability.”
Ease of use: No more troubleshooting failed backups and replicas
“Veeam is so simple to set up and maintain,” Carter continued. “Veeam chugs
along and does its thing so we don’t have to constantly worry about and
check for failed backups and replicas. If there is a problem with a VM backup,
Veeam automatically notifies us and we rerun it. Veeam also automatically
verifies restore points for our backups and replicas, so we’re confident they are
Flexibility: Fast, frequent backup and replication from NetApp storage
“We love Veeam’s flexibility, especially with backups,” Carter said. “We make
backups from NetApp storage snapshots as often as we want without impacting
production. We also appreciate that Veeam is storage-agnostic so our backup
repositories aren’t tied to specific hardware vendors. Veeam’s flexibility also
extends to copying our backups to tape.”