The airline industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. According to Statista, the number of passengers is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% between 2019 and 2038. The airline industry is also one of the most competitive industries in the world. This leaves airline companies with no choice but to provide an extraordinary customer experience. If customers have poor experiences, they’ll switch to another airline. If they have good experiences, they’ll become loyal, frequent flyers.
SunExpress understands the value of customer experience. Carrying upwards of 10 million passengers to more than 90 destinations in 30 countries annually, SunExpress has been acting as a bridge between people, countries, and cultures for many years.
“The SunExpress family works unrelentingly to provide an excellent customer experience,” said Mensur Tahiroviç, IT infrastructure and operations group director at SunExpress. “To assure customer satisfaction and trust, critical systems must be available at all times. This includes our reservation system, our in-flight operation system, emails, and SAP HANA.”
Tahiroviç said the impact of outages could be catastrophic, particularly to the reservation system.
“There is serious competition between airline companies. That is why we can’t afford to miss a single reservation. Apart from losing reservations, we would lose our customers’ trust, and they might not fly with us again.”
Historical email data was also at risk. SunExpress wanted to migrate from on-premises Microsoft Exchange to Exchange Online but worried that backup policy gaps might make it difficult to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“Many IT professionals believe that Microsoft provides a complete backup for Office 365 data. However, we knew that this did not meet the criteria of SunExpress and that it was not entirely sufficient,” said Tahiroviç. “Microsoft provides a certain degree of data retention, but given the high standards set by international regulations governing airlines, this data retention option had to be supported with additional solutions.”
Moreover, the legacy backup solutions did not meet the high standards of the airline company. The backups had to be checked frequently. This required one person to monitor the process nearly all day long. The data had to be restored from tape. The recovery process was very slow because this process took hours.
Tahiroviç described the situation as follows: “Because of all these factors, the operation became risky due to the potentially faulty backups and manual processes. Even when the process was successful, recovering data from backups was time-consuming.” “Our jobs as IT professionals is to contribute to the customer experience. However, legacy backups carry risks and are inefficient because they require manual labor.”
SunExpress replaced legacy backup with Veeam® Availability Suite™ and Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. Veeam supports SunExpress in delivering exceptional customer experiences by providing comprehensive data protection for all workloads. Veeam also streamlines GDPR compliance and automates backup management, monitoring and reporting, saving the equivalent of one full-time employee.
“Thanks to Veeam, we can back up and replicate every critical system easily and reliably,” Tahiroviç said. “We can test the recoverability of backups and replicas, and if necessary, we can restore from them almost instantly. What a difference Veeam makes!
Veeam backs up and replicates 300 TB of data across 600 virtual machines on-premises for fast, local recovery and off-premises for disaster recovery and business continuity. Veeam Plug-in for SAP HANA guarantees the transaction consistency of SAP HANA databases in backups, helping SunExpress process high volumes of data in real time. Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 eliminated the airline’s concerns about losing access to data and control of historical email data when migrating from on-premises Microsoft Exchange to Exchange Online.
“We trust Veeam when it comes to comprehensive data protection and Cloud Data Management™,” Tahiroviç said. “We can restore individual emails, OneDrive files and SharePoint documents quickly and easily. Moreover, we can use Veeam’s eDiscovery feature to retrieve emails for GDPR compliance.”
Veeam provides something else that legacy backup lacked: Monitoring and reporting.
“Veeam notifies us when there’s a problem. Thus, we are able to solve problems before they grow into bigger ones and harm the business,” said Tahiroviç. “Veeam has successfully automated backup management, monitoring and reporting, saving the equivalent of one full-time employee. The person who looked after the backup processes now works on other important data center tasks.”
Tahiroviç said that he would recommend Veeam to IT professionals looking for comprehensive data protection and Cloud Data Management solutions.
“Veeam offers a first class experience when it comes to ease of installation, management and serviceability,” Tahiroviç explained. “Our daily, weekly and monthly backups are created in accordance with policies we determine based on specific business requirements. Veeam definitely fulfills enterpriselevel expectations in data protection and Cloud Data Management.”
SunExpress is an expert of the sun. Established as a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines in 1989, SunExpress operates direct flights to several destinations, including flights from Antalya, İzmir, and 10 other cities in Anatolia to a number of locations in Europe. Headquartered in Antalya, the tourist capital of Turkey, SunExpress employs more than 3,200 people.
The airline industry is highly competitive. For this reason, customer satisfaction and a seamless experience are the number one priorities in the industry. SunExpress works relentlessly towards achieving customer satisfaction and safely carries its guests to their loved ones and dream holiday spots. It is crucial to have critical IT systems in place in order to maintain all operations without any interruptions. The primary issue faced by all companies is legacy backup. For airline companies, this puts certain systems at risk, including systems that support passenger reservations and flight operations. SunExpress worried that historical email data might also be at risk when the airline migrated from on-premises Microsoft Exchange to Exchange Online. The concern was that gaps in backup policy might complicate the GDPR compliance processes.