The Business Challenge
The retail food market is fiercely competitive. In the United Kingdom, the market is projected
to reach £213 billion by 2022, according to the Global Agricultural Information Network.
From supermarket chains to deep discounters, the choice for consumers is vast.
Many of them opt for a Co-operative.
The East of England Co-operative is the one of the largest. From bargains on biscuits
to high-quality goods sourced from 114 local suppliers, it offers thousands of food
items in addition to post office, funeral and travel services. The Co-op has a significant
property portfolio too, making it a diverse and modern business.
Like any modern business, the Co-op takes risk management seriously, so the board
and leadership team identified specific risks and how to mitigate them. One of the risks
is IT failure . “We would be in a world of pain if IT failed and we couldn’t recover
for several days,” said Richard Helliwell, Head of ICT Services for the Co-op. “An IT failure
would have a detrimental impact on our business, potentially preventing us from making
sales, paying employees and supplying stores. Imagine if our 120 stores couldn’t
place digital orders. They’d have to revert to manual ordering to replenish
their shelves, requiring an unimaginable number of hours.”
The Co-op had controls in place to reduce the risk of IT failure, including a BC
and DR strategy featuring enterprise-class data protection that served the Co-op
well for many years. However, when data began to grow by 40% annually, legacy
backup couldn’t keep pace. “A full backup of our file server took up to 100 hours,
making it difficult to meet RPOs,” Helliwell said.
For more than 150 years the Co-op has innovated and adapted to meet
the needs of the business and community, so the IT team replaced legacy backup
with an enterprise-class data management solution offering proven scalability.
The Veeam Solution
Veeam® Availability Suite™ backs up the Co-op’s file server in 15 minutes, making
it easy to meet recovery point objectives (RPOs). Veeam is designed to protect
petabytes of data through fast, flexible backup, recovery, replication and failover.
“Veeam is the backbone of our BC and DR strategy,” Helliwell said. It’s reliable, easy
to use and provides proven enterprise-class data protection required by the business.”
Veeam backs up 25 TB across 120 Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs)
on-premises to disk and to tape, which is archived off-premises. In addition,
Veeam replicates off-premises to a DR site, so if a critical system fails, the IT team
can fail over to the DR site and maintain BC.
Failover also helps the Co-op protect the business against cyber attacks .
Cyber-security threats are increasing in the retail market, making data loss a grim
possibility. Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) cited a 400% increase
in the number of cyber-security incidents reported in 2018.
“Veeam helps us sleep at night,” said Garry Armour, IT Manager at the Co-op.
“Fast, reliable failover in a DR scenario is one of the biggest benefits Veeam provides.
The result is High Availability, so business can carry on.”
Armour said another Veeam benefit is simplicity. “Legacy backup was unnecessarily
complex, cumbersome and clunky. Even monitoring and reporting were difficult to use.
Veeam ONE’s™ monitoring and reporting are remarkably simple to use, enabling
us to proactively identify and resolve issues before they escalate into problems.
On two occasions, Veeam ONE reported undeleted snapshots following system
updates. If the snapshots hadn’t been deleted, the systems might have crashed,
causing data loss.”
Armour said breadth, depth and speed are three of Veeam’s most defining characteristic.
“Veeam is significantly easier to use and maintain compared to other solutions we’ve used.
When you combine ease of use with scalability and High Availability, you can understand
why Veeam is the backbone of our BC and DR strategy.”
- Increases backup speed by 99% to meet RPOs
“The need for speed during recovery is ever present as data grows,” Helliwell said.
“Veeam meets our need for speed.”
- Serves as the backbone of the BC and DR strategy
The Co-op’s BC and DR strategy is designed to make the business resilient to IT disruptions.
Veeam provides fast, easy and reliable backup, recovery, replication and failover,
so business operations won’t be impacted.
- Helps protect critical data from cyber-security threats
If malware strikes, the IT team can fail over to a DR site and recover data quickly,
enabling the business to carry on.