SES S.A. is intent on creating the most reliable, innovative and preeminent satellite-based solutions to satisfy global demand for unlimited connectivity, information and entertainment. SES serves many of the largest broadcast, media and telecommunication companies in the world including AT&T, BT, Canal+Group, Comcast, Sky, Telefónica and Televisa. Its portfolio of satellite and integrated connectivity services are delivered on a high-performing, global infrastructure. Most of the critical systems that support these services are spread across thousands of VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) in six data centers worldwide.
“IT supports every part of our business from office work to satellite management; therefore, we have an IT infrastructure based on high availability,” said Dominique Docquier, System Engineer at SES. “We use an active/active model for servers and storage, enabling us to move any service between data centres without disruption. We also use VMware’s high availability and distributed resource scheduler to combine automatic failover with load balancing, and we cluster applications that can be clustered. If our critical virtualised systems aren’t continuously available such as satellite scheduling, we can’t serve our customers at the level we intend.”
When slow VM backup and recovery jeopardised the satellite scheduling system, SES looked for a new availability solution.
“To restore a VM we had to import a backup job, run catalog discovery and then recover the VM,” Docquier explained. “This procedure could take hours, which is precious time when you’re waiting for a server to be restored—you can’t waste that kind of time in an emergency situation. The other problem we faced was backup failure. Each day, at least one backup job was unsuccessful, which limited our number of recovery points. We needed a reliable, high-performing availability solution, but most of the products on the market lacked performance and reliability.”
Rapidly growing data was another challenge. Within two years, data tripled as SES acquired companies and virtualised more data. The IT team’s biggest fear was not being able to restore data within service level agreements (SLAs), which Docquier said contain tight recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs). SLAs are assigned to each virtualised application.
“I had been an IT consultant before joining SES, so I knew we needed to deploy the gold standard in availability,” Docquier said.
SES deployed Veeam® Backup & Replication™ to ensure 24x7x365 availability of critical virtualised systems including satellite scheduling. With Veeam, SES is 100% confident in its ability to schedule customers’ satellite transmissions.
“Veeam is the best availability solution for virtualisation,” Docquier said. “With Veeam we know we can meet every RTO and RPO in our SLAs. We have a high level of confidence in Veeam because it excels in DR tests each year.”
The goal of SES’s DR tests is to ensure all applications can be run from another data center following storage-level replication and transfer of backup copies. Veeam offers several high-speed restore features that streamline recovery for SES—all from a regular backup—to mere minutes. Instant VM Recovery® restarts a failed VM, Instant File-Level Recovery restores guest OS files and folders and Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft SQL Server recovers application items. (Veeam also offers Explorers for Active Directory, Exchange and SharePoint.)
SES’s deployment of Veeam Backup & Replication went so well that deployment of Veeam Management Pack™ (MP) for System Center soon followed. Veeam MP integrates seamlessly with Microsoft System Center, providing complete visibility of SES’s physical, virtual and backup infrastructures from a single console. With Veeam MP, SES can visualise relationships and dependencies in topology views, drill down in context, get real-time data and fix problems before they impact business operations.
“Our previous monitoring and reporting tool didn’t provide the complete visibility and in-depth information that Veeam provides,” Docquier said. “For example, we’d learn about a VM failing 45 minutes after it had shut down—that’s something we cannot tolerate. With Veeam MP, we get that information as it happens so we can prevent additional problems.”
Proactive issue resolution is one of Docquier’s favorite Veeam MP attributes.
“We learn about issues before they affect our 1,700 users, and Veeam MP offers options for quick resolution,” he explained. “The biggest benefit we get with Veeam MP is accurate, timely information, and the biggest benefit we get with Veeam Backup & Replication is fast, reliable backup and recovery to meet SLAs and support our DR efforts. Combining the two solutions makes us more confident in the availability of our virtualised systems than ever before.”
Satellite scheduling system is available 24x7x365
Before deploying Veeam Backup & Replication, SES ran the risk of not being able to schedule customers’ satellite transmissions because it took hours to recover VMs supporting the scheduling system. Veeam provides 24x7x365 availability of this key system through fast, efficient backup and recovery, giving SES full confidence in its ability to schedule satellite transmissions around the clock.
High-speed recovery meets SLAs and supports DR
SES tests DR procedures each year, and Veeam Backup & Replication proves itself time after time. In a matter of minutes, SES can recover whole VMs, files and application items from regular backups, making it easy to meet every RPO and RTO in internal SLAs.
Complete visibility enables proactive issue resolution
Before Veeam MP was deployed, SES had limited monitoring and reporting in the virtualised environment, resulting in extremely limited visibility. Veeam MP alerts SES to problems in real time, enabling proactive issue resolution before users and the business are impacted.