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Friedrich Miescher Institute

Veeam Backup & Replication Streamlines DR Testing at International Biomedical Research Institute


Located in Basel, Switzerland, the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research is part of the Novartis Research Foundation and affiliated with the University of Basel. It is devoted to fundamental biomedical research and focuses on epigenetics, signaling and cancer, and neurobiology.


Automate disaster recovery (DR) testing with fast and verifiable backups of virtual machines (VMs).


  • Reduces DR testing process from two weeks to two days
  • Fast, easy recovery provides peace of mind
  • Cuts VM backup time by 50 percent and backup space by two-thirds

The Business Challenge

As part of the Novartis Research Foundation, the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) must comply with strict disaster recovery (DR) standards sanctioned by Novartis, including regular DR testing of the IT infrastructure. FMI’s IT infrastructure consists of 10 physical servers, three VMware hosts and 60 virtual machines (VMs). All mission-critical databases and applications run on VMs, which include Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Active Directory and Web servers.

“We are an IT staff of seven, and DR testing of our infrastructure used to take two weeks to complete, putting a huge drain on everyone,” said Dean Flanders, Head of Informatics at FMI. “It was a complicated and lengthy process because we backed up the VMs with the same backup tool we use with the physical servers. Clearly, we needed to save time and effort by automating the DR testing procedure with a backup product designed specifically for the virtual environment. We had specific criteria in mind: fast, verifiable backups and being able to start a VM without doing a full recovery.”

The Veeam Solution

Dean and his colleagues chose Veeam Backup & Replication to automate FMI’s DR testing process, reducing the two-week timeframe to two days. “Veeam is the only backup solution we found that successfully automates and simplifies our DR testing process so we can abide by Novartis’ strict standards and make the most of staff time,” he explained. “That lets us devote our time and energy to supporting FMI’s scientists and their research rather than spending two weeks in testing mode.”

FMI’s IT staff was able to automate the DR testing process because of vPower™, the breakthrough technology in Veeam Backup & Replication that runs a VM directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup file. vPower provides farreaching capabilities, including SureBackup™, which enables the team to verify the recoverability of every backup, of every VM, every time. vPower also lets team members quickly restore exactly what they need, whether that’s the entire VM, a particular VMDK file or specific application or user data. In addition, vPower enables Instant VM Recovery, which means the IT staff can start a VM from a backup in minutes.

“Not only did Veeam Backup & Replication automate and reduce our annual DR testing from two weeks to two days, it also made more frequent testing possible,” Dean added. “Our goal is to move toward monthly testing and then fully automated tests each weekend. We can accomplish frequent testing with Veeam’s SureBackup and Instant VM Recovery, which we found to be unique in the industry. Veeam is in a league of its own. Being able to verify the recoverability of our VMs automatically gives my colleagues and me complete peace of mind.

The Results

Reduces DR testing process from two weeks to two days
Before FMI’s IT staff implemented Veeam Backup & Replication, the yearly DR testing process was lengthy and arduous. With Veeam, it’s quick and easy, and more frequent testing is now possible. SureBackup makes it possible for FMI’s IT staff to easily test every backup and ensure recoverability. And, it automates the entire verification process without additional hardware or staff, which is key for FMI’s small IT staff of seven.

Fast, easy recovery provides peace of mind
Veeam Backup & Replication is straightforward and easy to use. “Recovery is so incredibly simple with Veeam. My holidays are worry-free now because I am confident that anyone on my staff can recover our VMs. Veeam is practically foolproof.”

Cuts VM backup time by 50 percent and backup space by two-thirds
When FMI’s IT staff performed incremental backups of VMs with the same tool used for physical servers, the process took 10 hours. With Veeam Backup & Replication, incremental backups take five hours. Veeam also enables FMI to back up to disk (tape was used before), which speeds recovery. And, because of Veeam’s compression and deduplication functionality, backups require two-thirds less storage space than before.

Friedrich Miescher Institute
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