Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG operates the largest mobile phone network in Germany. Established in 1995 and headquartered in Munich, Telefónica Germany also provides broadband and landline telecommunications. The company employs 1,200 people.
Telefónica Germany is on its way to becoming the country’s leading digital telecommunications provider, but first it must be certain that customers have the best network experience possible. Backup and recovery of the network’s management system were unreliable and slow, placing network availability at risk.
Telefónica Germany served approximately 49 million customers in 2015, making it one of the top three telecommunications providers in the country. One goal in its business growth strategy is to become Germany’s largest digital telecommunications provider by delivering the best network, products and services. One of the ways Telefónica Germany meets this goal by ensuring customers have 24x7 network access.
At the core of the company’s network is a management system that keeps the network up and running. The network management system is composed of business-critical applications and systems (300TB) that run on 600 VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs). Business-critical applications and systems must be available at all times to enable 24x7 network uptime; therefore, a network outage is out of the question. An outage would halt communication among millions of people, damage the company’s stellar reputation and cost hundreds of thousands of Euros.
Udo Müller, Supervisor of Platform Operations at Telefónica Germany, looks after the network management system, along with a team of 10 people. When their backup tool failed to recover VMs fast enough to guarantee network availability 24x7, they replaced it with Veeam® Backup & Replication™. When their monitoring tool required them to write script after script to assess backup performance and storage consumption, they sought advice from SoftwareONE, a leading IT services consultancy.
“We recommended Telefónica Germany upgrade to Veeam Availability Suite because it combines all the features they like in Veeam Backup & Replication with advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning,” said Dirk Grabowski, Solution Sales Specialist at SoftwareONE. We’ve had a lot of experience with Veeam Availability Suite, so we knew it would deliver everything Telefónica Germany needed to guarantee network availability 24x7.”
Veeam Availability Suite™ was exactly what Telefónica Germany needed to guarantee network availability, putting the company one step closer to becoming the country’s leading digital telecommunications provider.
“Veeam ensures availability of the key systems that manage our network,” Müller said. “Network availability is a top business priority for us, and Veeam delivers 24x7 availability. Veeam has become a big part of our IT strategy and our business growth strategy.”
Part of Telefónica Germany’s business growth strategy included acquiring E-Plus Group, a large mobile network operator. Both companies have reputations as fast-moving innovators that challenge the market with new products and services. To capitalize on their synergy quickly, Telefónica Germany had to merge the new company’s data centre with its own to unite business operations. Müller and his colleagues deployed Veeam in E-Plus Group’s data centre, quickly bringing hundreds of new VMs into the fold.
“Two of the things we like best about Veeam are ease-of-use and scalability,” Müller said. “Our legacy tool might have scaled to accommodate hundreds of new VMs, but failed backups and slow recovery would have made it difficult to merge operations between our companies. And, we would have paid large licensing fees for all the new VMs.”
Veeam is licensed per socket, not per-VM like the legacy tool. Subsequently, Veeam was 25% less expensive over a three-year period. In addition to saving money, Müller and his colleagues saved nearly 1,000 hours in troubleshooting failed backups and slow recovery during the same three-year period. One of their favorite restore stories is about upgrading a critical component in their network management system, only to find countless problems with the upgrade. They used Veeam Instant VM Recovery® to recover the VM from a backup made before the upgrade.
“If the recovery had failed, a big part of our mobile network wouldn’t have been available,” Müller said. “Every restore with Veeam feels like a ‘save-the-day moment.’”
Backup and recovery aren’t the only improvements in the network management system. Manual scripting is no longer necessary because Veeam provides real-time, 24x7 performance monitoring and reporting.
“Veeam automates monitoring for us, enabling us to isolate an issue and resolve it before it impacts business,” Müller said. “Veeam is simple and direct; other backup products only provide error IDs, requiring you to go into event logs and chart the protocols and analytics with a knowledge base.”
Veeam is different. It provides more than 200 preset alarms based on best practices with an extensive knowledge base connected to each alarm. Alarm dashboards reduce discovery and troubleshooting times.
Veeam also offers performance forecasting and capacity planning. Müller knows when computing or storage resources will max out based on consumption trends.
“If it looks like our backup storage allocation won’t be enough for the next six months,we budget accordingly,” Müller said. “Veeam takes the guesswork out of capacity planning, making a business process like budgeting much easier.”