The Business Challenge
Sydney Living Museums (SLM) is responsible for a group of 12 of the most
historic houses, gardens and museums in New South Wales. With properties such
as Vaucluse House, Hyde Park Barracks Museum and Museum of Sydney in their
charge, the work of SLM means that anyone can experience some of the most
dynamic history the state has to offer.
Previously known as the Historic Houses Trust NSW, the organisation’s core
principle is to allow people access to these cornerstone properties to learn and
enjoy from the state’s rich history. They are also responsible for sharing an extensive
collection of online resources and historical material, ranging from catalogues
of printed material to images and AV material, and all with associated metadata.
Protection of these digital assets and business systems is critical. With such an enormous
task at hand, SLM began to struggle due to outdated technology systems that slowed
everything down; most significantly, the backup recovery processes. Everything from
back office functions, to online collections and even daily visitor transactions were being
impacted by ill-fitting processes. This not only made them vulnerable but impaired their
ability to provide the quality visitor experience they desired both on and offline.
Lisa Brady, Head of ICT at Sydney Living Museums works with her team
to provide seamless data availability and IT infrastructure for all 12 historical
sites in SLM’s portfolio as well as records management and business
improvement for their impressive 250 staff.
“We were outgrowing the technology, especially in the management of our digital
archives with the legacy backup system. We needed to find a solution that kept
up with our growing database and helped us provide the access to collections this
organisation is committed to,” said Lisa Brady.
Brady recalls how this had a knock-on effect to visitors.
“When people visited any of our heritage sites, admission would take a long time
to process and our visitors would get frustrated, dampening their whole experience.”
This also began to affect many of the talented researchers and curators.
Brady continues, “A lot of the access to digital collections that we use to build
resources and materials were hampered by poor system performance. Our curators
were frustrated and the organisation’s full potential was not being realised because
our technology wasn’t there.”
“It became very clear that we needed to address this problem to do justice to our
places and stories, or risk having adverse impacts to our revenue, process controls
and visitor experience if our systems or data are not readily available.”
The Veeam Solution
SLM sites are held ‘in trust’ for future generations. Each property and place has
an individual plan for its conservation and management which embraces the
specific qualities, significance and histories of that place and guides the approach
to activities there.
Brady noted “When approaching this challenge it was important to consider the
organisation’s role in giving our properties and places a future as valuable as their
past. We needed a solution that was going to get IT out of the way and allow
us to focus on supporting our museums’ mission the preservation of valuable
history for the Australian people.”
In searching for a solution to their problems, Brady praises the support they have
received from their IT consultant. Counterparts Technology helped SLM address
their problems with Veeam Availability Suite in conjunction with its HPE storage
“As our pain points were causing business complexity, we wanted a simple and
flexible IT approach. Counterparts worked with us to implement a comprehensive
solution to ease our backup recovery woes.”
Brady recalls how Veeam has already transformed the organisation. “Our digital
transformation journey has meant we are now able to allow recovery or access to
a full working server in a short space of time. We are also able to update our test
systems with relative ease and able to copy servers for testing easily.”
Cameron Cumming, Client Engagement Director and Matt Wynn-Jones, Managing
Director of Counterparts Technology worked closely with the team at SLM to drive
their digital transformation. They recognised that the organisation needed a cursory
shift in their preparedness to manage highly rich content.
“The nature of the work that SLM does throughout all areas of their organisation
meant that they were managing large amounts of content. We wanted to help
provide them with the right platforms to manage this and meet the ever-changing
demands their growing archives required.” said Wynn-Jones.
“We proposed a Veeam solution due to its ability to provide reliable, nearline backups
of all their critical data with minimal performance impact. This has led to a massive
reduction in business disruption and relieved the stress on production servers.”
Since implementing Veeam, the SLM team have also seen a notable difference in the
quality of service they are able to offer their visitors, with faster transactions times
and smoother admission processes.
- Reduced risk of data loss with rapid, reliable backup capability; restoration
in under 30 minutes
“Veeam has meant we are able to back up double the data in the same time
and this is no longer impinging on other operations. Our server-state backups
now have the ability to recover or duplicate a working server from a snapshot,
incremental backups have allowed for a reduction in business disruption and the
ability to create synthetic full backups from them,” affirms Brady.
“Since Veeam, we have had an incident where one of our domain controllers went
down. Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery was able to help us restore the server in just
under thirty minutes and with very little intervention from our team. Being part
of our security infrastructure, a recovery like this would have previously proven
much more difficult and time consuming”, adds Azfar Wasim, ICT Support Officer.
- Allowed for faster, more effective customer transactions and better user
“Front of house transactions used to take a long time to process, visitors would
become frustrated and the whole experience was affected. But now, a huge
amount of that time has been reduced.” said Brady.
Researchers and curators no longer face the delays in building resources and
materials that used to be caused by system performance issues.
- Freed up IT resources for improving business effectiveness and visitor experience
Brady explained, “The automation and ease with which we are able to backup and
test has meant we have roughly one FTE (full-time equivalent) on the team that
can now use their time (equivalent of 30 hours a week) to improve the business
and to improve other elements of SLM’s visitor experience and innovate our back
office processes as our organisation grows.”
- Disaster recovery solution that minimises impacts to business operations
“Since implementing our Veeam solution, we have had a few projects where
we have been able to stand up replica servers such as to allow for the upgrade
of our HR and finance systems. In the past this is a task that would have taken
us over a month to complete. We are now able to realise these projects in just
a couple of weeks. By leveraging the Veeam’s SureBackup and SureReplica
features, we have made complex risky processes simple and effective”. These
tools allow us to create, for the first time, a complete, verifiable disaster recovery
solution for all systems.” concludes Brady.