The Business Challenge
Before Gray Huggins, Director of Technology at Bishop Lynch High School, considered replacing the data center’s aging physical servers in 2009, he spoke with several technology consulting firms about disaster recovery options. The solution proposed by all was the same: virtualize the servers using VMware™.
Gray chose to work with Intelinet Systems, a leading consulting partner and provider of technology solutions. In addition to recommending a virtualization strategy, Intelinet suggested that Bishop Lynch High School dedicate a virtual server on campus to handle the backup of data and then replicate it to another virtual server off-site for disaster recovery purposes.
While VMware™ vSphere 4 functioned beautifully, the backup and replication products he implemented did not. That’s because they didn’t take advantage of changed block tracking, a feature in vSphere 4 that enables backup and replication software to back up only incremental changes rather than examining the entire virtual machine for those changes. ““The company that provides these products promised the next versions would embrace changed block tracking, but we needed a fix immediately,” Gray explained. “That’s when our colleagues at Intelinet suggested we test Veeam Backup & Replication. They believed it would solve our performance and reliability problems.”
The Veeam Solution
Gray’s colleagues at Intelinet were absolutely right. “Since Veeam Backup & Replication leverages the advanced functionality in vSphere 4, including changed block tracking for incredibly fast replication cycles, Bishop Lynch High School’s performance and reliability problems were resolved immediately,” explained John Jeffrey, Intelinet principal and Director of Sales.
The speed by which Gray is now able to back up the datacenter’s 21 virtual machines has put him in a completely different frame of mind. “The performance with Veeam Backup & Replication is phenomenal,” he said. “We are able to perform backups without issue, and we are able to replicate each virtual machine once a day without issue as well. The replication of our virtual environment in the data center to the off-site disaster recovery center actually works now, which is a huge relief. We know what our peers in New Orleans went through when their datacenters were wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, so we are thankful for Veeam Backup & Replication.”
In addition to improved backup and replication speeds, Gray said Veeam is particularly helpful when the school’s information system vendor comes out with a new suite of releases. “It’s important to test the new releases before putting them into production, but that was a time-consuming undertaking before Veeam. Thanks to the VMware environment and Veeam, I’m able to back up my production servers, restore them into a test environment, apply what upgrades I need, and test them before I place them into production.
As for Intelinet, John and his coworkers continue to recommend Veeam Backup & Replication to clients. “It was a real pleasure working with the Veeam support team to solve Bishop Lynch’s replication problem,” John said. “This is a great example of how our partnerships with vendors like Veeam help us meet and exceed our client’s expectations with proven technology solutions.”
Resolves replication performance and reliability problems - Now Bishop Lynch High School successfully and reliably backs up and replicates school data to an off-site server for disaster recovery purposes. This wasn’t the case with the backup and replication products in place before Veeam Backup & Replication. Those products didn’t leverage the changed block tracking feature within VMware vSphere 4, but Veeam does, enabling incredibly fast and reliable processes.
Ensures data transfer for disaster recovery purposes - Since the replication of the high school’s virtual environment in the data center to the off-site disaster recovery center works now, school administrators know their data is secure.
Facilitates efficient testing of school software upgrades - It’s important to test new releases of the school’s information system software, but that was an arduous task before Veeam Backup & Replication was implemented. Now Veeam, coupled with VMware, enable Bishop Lynch High School to back up the production servers, restore them into a test environment, apply what upgrades are needed, and test them before placing them into production.