Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s work guides and supports the sustainable development of the Bay of Plenty, which has a population of about 300,000 over an area of 12,231 square kilometres. It aims to make sure the region grows and develops in a way that keeps its values safe for future generations. A major focus of the work involves looking after the environment. It manages the effects of people’s use of freshwater, land, air and coastal water. However, it also has a broader responsibility with others for the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of the regional community.
Situated in an area which has recently experienced devastating natural events, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) needed its IT infrastructure to be always up and running to ensure no disruption of service to the community. Its legacy backup solution did not work well and was unreliable. It also had high administrative overheads and the storage capacity of the existing storage hardware was running low on space.
INFX specialises in virtual infrastructure, IAAS, storage, backup and DR solutions. We are a nimble organization with a strong history in delivering the latest technologies to enable innovative IT solutions for enterprise and SMB clients across New Zealand. Within Local Government we have deployed many core infrastructures utilising Veeam Backup and Replication. Our focus is on simple, elegant, cost effective solutions that deliver high performing, reliable platforms on time and to budget.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) in New Zealand’s North Island has a strong focus on environmental matters. Situated in an area which has experienced a series of devastating natural events in recent times, its IT infrastructure is crucial to ensure consistent service to the community during times of crisis.
“The business of the Council revolves around looking after the environment. This includes managing the effect of people on our coastal waters, land and air,” Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Systems Administrator Aaron Dalgleish said.
“It is important we have data availability so we can deliver a consistent service to our community, especially during times of crisis, and also to comply with legislative requirements.”
In early 2016 Dalgleish said the BOPRC identified concerns around their aging legacy backup solution.
“The backup didn’t work well and was unreliable. The backup to tape was also a manual process,” Dalgleish explains. “When we conducted the full back up on the weekend, it was taking longer and longer, and in the end it was still going into Monday morning.”
The existing legacy solution had high administrative overheads and the storage capacity of the existing storage hardware was also running low on space. There were also unexpected licencing costs associated with maintaining the legacy solution due to the increase in backup storage.
BOPRC was utilising the legacy software for all server backup requirements and VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) for disaster recovery replication. All backups were retained on two existing HPE StoreOnce storage appliances in two separate geographical locations, before being archived to tape.
The HPE StoreOnce Catalyst appliances provide de-duplicated storage for backup copy jobs. They are located in Tauranga and managed by the production backup server in Whakatane.
Long-standing IT partner INFX, who works with a number of local councils across New Zealand, recommended that the Council move to Veeam.
“We have been working with Veeam for some time, it is a leader in our minds in terms of disaster recovery and availability solutions,” INFX Technical Director Dax Bunce said.
“We have experience working with many vendors, but other competitive products didn’t do as well as Veeam in terms of price, portability and results at the end of the day.”
The introduction of Veeam Backup and Replication™ made it possible at BOPRC to re-architect the HPE StoreOnce platform and retire the legacy software and VMware Site Recovery Manager. This reduced costs and complexity.
Since roll-out wrapped up in October 2016, Dalgleish said Veeam has been a lot “easier” to use than the previous software and more “reliable”.
“Veeam has also brought us cost savings -- the extra licencing costs for the legacy software was around NZ $100,000, but we paid NZ $42,000 for Veeam for three years – a 58% saving.”
In terms of manpower savings, Dalgleish said the backup to tape process is now automated and saves him some 83% of time when it is conducted once a month.
“My mental stress has reduced, I am a lot more confident now that backups are working. I don’t have to worry about backups still running Monday morning.
“I usually start the backup at 9pm at night, I am not sure what time it finishes but it is well before morning. It now takes around 8 hours to complete compared to an entire weekend for a full backup.”
Dalgleish added that for the incremental backups, these are usually completed in half the time it used to take using the legacy software.
In terms of features Veeam offers, Dalgleish is particularly happy with the Veeam® Explorer for Exchange for restoring Exchange backups.
“This was quite a major pain point with the legacy software, in fact we tried to avoid doing email restores. With Veeam it is nice and simple, and easy to restore down to the individual level.”
Veeam Backup and Replication also adds some future-proofing to the business with WAN acceleration and cloud-based backups being built into the product suite.