The Business Challenge
When a major Italian financial institution asked Colt Technology Services to design a disaster recovery (DR) site for its critical systems, the request included specific requirements.
First, the customer asked Colt to design an infrastructure that would replicate its critical services, including physical servers, virtual servers, and large networkattached storage (NAS) systems, to an offsite DR location situated at least 100 kilometers from the primary production site.
Second, the customer asked Colt to implement a virtual server backup solution that could be activated at the DR site if a disaster occurred. Therefore, data modified during the DR activation would continue to be covered by nightly backups.
Third, implementation of the backup and replication solution must have minimal impact on the customer’s production environment. For example, the implementation must be unobtrusive, replication must occur during a specific timeframe, replication traffic must be kept to at a minimum, and the management of replication must not require excessive work on the part of the production staff. In addition, activation of the DR site must abide by the recovery time objective set by the customer.
The Veeam Solution
Colt contacted Clever Consulting, an Italy-based specialist in virtualization, high availability, disaster recovery, business continuity, and regulatory compliance solutions.
“We recommended Veeam Backup & Replication for disaster recovery purposes,” explained Gary McConnell, Managing Partner at Clever Consulting. “Our company policy is to recommend and deploy products that we trust. Veeam is a significant player in our portfolio of solutions.”
Now Veeam Backup & Replication is responsible for nightly replication of VMware servers from the customer’s production site to the DR site. “This process works flawlessly and involves very little time on the customer’s behalf,” Gary said. “In addition, both Colt and the customer are alerted to any issues via Veeam’s reporting and alerting features. And the solution has been completely integrated into the network management monitoring systems, thanks to Veeam’s SNMP alerts,” he added.
The customer also uses Veeam Backup & Replication for failover testing. “Failover can be tested, certified, and rolled back easily,” Gary explained. “Being able to pause replication, carry out a failover test, and then restart replication from the pre-failover test snapshot is reassuring to the customer and ensures they don’t have long rereplication times after running a disaster recovery test.”
A backup job for all virtual machines in the DR site was created with Veeam as well.
“This will only be activated when a disaster recovery is invoked, thus protecting any data changed during the DR activation,” he added. “Upon DR activation, the entire server farm will be backed up in a matter of minutes—without having to install agents on the customer’s guest machines. This is a simple, straightforward, and fully automated process, with no agents to purchase, deploy, configure, update, and monitor,” he concluded.
Nightly replication of production servers to DR site is flawless
Now the customer’s virtual servers are replicated to an off-site location each night. This occurs within a designated timeframe and involves very little work for the production staff. If there is an issue, both Colt and the customer will receive emails via Veeam’s reporting and alerting feature.
Failover testing ensures short and concise re-replication if necessary
The customer also uses Veeam Backup & Replication to test, certify, and roll back failovers. This enables the customer to pause replication, test failover, and restart replication from the pre-failover test snapshot, ensuring short re-replication times.
Data changes are guaranteed during DR activationIf the event of disaster, Veeam Backup & Replication will back up all virtual machines at the DR site, protecting any data changed during the activation. Veeam provides agentless backups, making the process simple, straightforward, fully automated, and cost-effective.