The Microsoft Server team at the University of Melbourne has virtualized 75% of its IT infrastructure on VMware vSphere. More than 600 virtual machines (VMs) run systems such as student administration, CRM (customer relationship management), identity management and a lecture capture system. The Information Technology Services (ITS) team looks after the IT infrastructure and supports nearly 70,000 students and staff.
As more and more vital business services were moved to the VMware platform, the team knew it could not afford an outage in the virtual environment. However, its monitoring tool was inadequate for detecting and reporting on critical issues that cause outages.
“Our monitoring tool wasn’t very configurable, and it wasn’t set up like a dashboard to provide a consolidated view of important metrics,” said Drew Poynton, Team Leader, Microsoft and Virtual Infrastructure Support for the university. “As more services were virtualized, we needed a better way to monitor performance and capacity. We wanted a solution that would integrate fully with Microsoft System Center and provide a single view of our virtual and physical installations.”
Poynton and his colleagues looked at three VMware monitoring and management tools. They focused on the intelligence of each product and the quality of reporting and alerting.
“Gaining deeper visibility and resolving issues quickly were important too,” Poynton said. “We knew that integrating all of these into our existing management tool would increase awareness and acknowledgement and decrease resolution times.”Because the MP integrates fully with System Center and VMware, it enables all
System Center functionality—including alerts, diagrams, dashboards, reporting, auditing, notifications, responses and automation—for all VMware components, including vCenter Server, clusters, hosts, VMs, hardware and storage. The MP provides a detailed health model with hundreds of metrics and events for measuring vSphere performance, capacity and utilization.
“The Veeam MP is different from other monitoring products because it lets you drill down so deeply,” Poynton said. “The others only gave us a surface view. And, because Veeam integrates completely with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, you can drill down to the same level as you do in the physical environment.”
Poynton said the MP provides a single pane of glass for the team to monitor and proactively act on issues or potential issues. “This integrated view of our physical and virtual environments, combined with the warnings and alerts from the MP, help us to see and resolve issues before they affect staff and students,” he said. “The MP saves us time too like when we need to review and report on performance issues. All the data is in one location.”
Another way the team saves time is by using Veeam Backup & Replication™. It provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data. Veeam replaced the team’s previous backup tool, which Poynton and his colleagues found was too slow.
“We took a look at Veeam Backup & Replication because we had been so impressed with the MP,” Poynton said. “With Veeam, our backups are twice as fast, a full VM restore is four times faster, and backup files require a lot less storage. Because of Veeam’s built-in deduplication and compression, storage consumption has decreased from 40TB to 15.”
Another built-in capability that convinced the team to switch to Veeam was VM replication. Veeam combines backup and replication in a single, storage-agnostic solution.
“We were planning to replicate VMs for DR, so switching to Veeam killed two birds with one stone and saved us money,” Poynton said. “Now we have a data protection solution that is easy to maintain, plus it utilizes existing storage. Veeam also offers Instant VM Recovery, which lets us recover a failed VM in minutes rather than hours, saving more time.”
Deep VMware monitoring and management in Microsoft System Center
The Veeam MP integrates fully with VMware and System Center to enable all System Center functionality for all VMware components. The MP monitors 500+ events and 175+ metrics, which helps the ITS team manage performance and capacity in its growing virtual environment.
Complete view of the entire IT infrastructure
Having a complete view of the IT infrastructure helps the team identify the source of problems and resolve them before they impact staff and students. “If you’ve already invested and configured Operations Manager, it makes sense to continue and extend the investment with the Veeam MP,” Poynton said. “The MP reveals performance and configuration errors that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.”
Fast, easy VM backup and recovery
With Veeam Backup & Replication, backing up VMs is twice as fast as the team’s previous backup tool, and backup files require almost two-thirds less space. And, with Instant VM Recovery, the team can recover VMs in minutes. Instead of making students and staff wait while team members provision storage, extract the backup and copy it to production, they use Veeam to restart a VM from a compressed and deduplicated backup file on regular backup storage.