The Business Challenge
As the VMware vSphere environment grew at SEGA Europe, backing up virtual machines (VMs) became a laborious and time-intensive project. The IT team spent too many hours scheduling backups because all VMs couldn’t complete within the backup window. The team also spent too much time troubleshooting corrupted backups.
In addition to slow and unreliable backups, SEGA Europe didn’t have an effective way to monitor its virtual environment, which eventually grew to 400 VMs. With the native management tools, there were only a few basic alerts and no automated or on-demand reporting for VM performance and capacity planning.
Stuart Wright, Director of IT and Networks for SEGA Europe, and his colleagues sought advice from their long-term IT consulting partner, System Professional, which had worked closely with them since their virtualisation project began.
“We explained the limitations of the native backup and monitoring tools and our requirements for a new solution,” Wright said. “We needed fast, reliable backups so our colleagues could stop babysitting backup jobs and start focusing on new system designs, and we wanted peace of mind knowing our backups could be easily recovered. One of our legal requirements is seven-year access to data, so having reliable backups is critical.
“We also needed visibility into the VMware environment so we could identify and resolve issues before they became problems. Our native tool didn’t alert us to problems until something had already failed. Since we had invested in Microsoft System Center, we considered creating our own management pack.”
The Veeam Solution
System Professional recommended two Veeam® solutions to SEGA Europe for backing up and monitoring its virtual environment: Veeam Backup & Replication™ and Veeam Management Pack (MP) for VMware™.
“The capabilities in the Veeam solutions met all of SEGA Europe’s requirements,” said Wayne Emerson, Commercial Director for System Professional. “We recommend Veeam solutions to many of our clients, and the comment we hear again and again is how easy they are to install, configure and maintain.”
The IT team at SEGA Europe tested both solutions and compared them to other tools.
“We found a major difference between Veeam Software and the other vendors,” Wright explained. “Veeam is at the forefront of embracing new ideas and technology. We’ve downloaded several updates since installing the solutions, and with each update we’ve noticed that Veeam functionality is right in line with the path we’re taking our business.
“Veeam and System Professional delivered an industry leading, cost-effective virtualisation backup and management solution to SEGA Europe. Veeam’s technology is fully aligned to our business and supports the agility and responsiveness of our IT operations team.”
Veeam Backup & Replication provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable recovery of virtualised applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. The Cloud Edition of Veeam Backup & Replication turns public clouds into storage repositories for backups, which aligns with SEGA Europe’s move toward cloud storage (Veeam also offers storage of backups on disk and tape).
With Veeam, backup speed and reliability have improved immensely at SEGA Europe, saving the IT team countless hours because no one has to watch over backups anymore.
“Backup used to be a project in itself, but Veeam turned it into a really easy, automated process that instills confidence in our team,” said Francis Hart, Live Operations Manager for SEGA Europe. “Backups complete within the backup window and are automatically verified for recoverability, giving us peace of mind and more time to focus on datacentre priorities. We also save a lot of money in backup storage because of Veeam’s built-in deduplication, which is phenomenal.”
Hart said two capabilities in Veeam Backup & Replication help keep the company’s business agile. Instant VM Recovery restarts a failed VM from a regular backup in minutes, which is helpful when software developers ask the team to restore a build from a specific day and time.
“In this case, Veeam serves as a software development safety net for us,” Hart said. “The other capability we really like is Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange. It takes away that layer of uncertainty in Exchange by giving us the ability to recover lost emails quickly. Like Instant VM Recovery, Explorer for Exchange is an enabler for our business and helps keep us agile. We never tell colleagues they have to wait a while for recovery because we have Veeam.”
The other solution System Professional recommended to SEGA Europe is Veeam MP, which extends deep VMware monitoring, management and capacity planning to Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).
“Veeam MP is another example of how Veeam is on the cutting-edge,” Wright said. “Microsoft is a big player, so years ago Veeam developed an MP for SCOM. Veeam MP gets better with every update, helping us find and fix issues quickly.”
Veeam MP offers capacity planning for VMware, including host failure modelling, performance forecasts for datastores and VM capacity prediction. Veeam MP also provides powerful what-if modelling that helps companies see how specific changes to their virtual infrastructures will affect performance.
“The dashboards and automated alerts in Veeam MP are brilliant; they provide great statistical information that help us to be proactive,” Wright said. “When storage was running low in one of our critical VMs, Veeam MP alerted us and saved us from downtime because we resolved the problem quickly. The MP also helps us proactively plan for growth. When an alert showed we were using more RAM than we expected, we purchased a new host promptly—with no last-minute scrambling.”
Wright said Veeam MP also helps the IT team be more proactive during the development of new online gaming services.
“We develop a lot of our online services on VMware before moving them to the cloud,” he explained. “We use the MP to understand the online service’s characteristics and how it will behave in the cloud. We can make changes sooner rather than later, saving time and effort.”
Fast, reliable backups free up time and provide peace of mind
With Veeam Backup & Replication, VM backups are fast and reliable at SEGA Europe, freeing the IT team to focus on system design and other datacentre activities. “We rest easy knowing our backups are in good hands with Veeam,” Hart said.
Technology aligns with company strategy and helps keep business agile
Wright said the capabilities in Veeam solutions align with his company’s business strategy, such as cloud storage for VM backups and capacity planning for proactive VM management. Veeam capabilities also help the IT team respond quickly when asked to recover software builds or Exchange items.
Deep insight into virtual environment enables proactive resolution and
Veeam MP combines the best of both worlds for SEGA Europe: VMware monitoring, management and capacity planning in the console it already uses for Microsoft System Center. Veeam MP delivers hundreds of out-of-the-box rules, monitors and reports on VMware performance, including all vSphere metrics. Capacity planning for VMware is built into System Center, so the IT team can forecast, plan and model for growth in the virtual environment.