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Veeam Delivers Modern Data Protection to Enterprise Virtual Environment


Rijkswaterstaat is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. It designs, builds and manages the Netherlands’ main highways, waterways and drinking water system.


  • Backups with the legacy backup tool failed 60% of the time
  • Backups required too much storage space
  • Replication wasn’t possible with the legacy backup tool


  • Feature-rich solution delivers fast, reliable backup and recovery
  • Built-in functionality reduces backup storage consumption
  • Replication provides disaster recovery and enables VM migration

The Business Challenge

Rijkswaterstaat’s virtual infrastructure is one of the largest in the Netherlands. Two datacentres house 90 VMware vSphere hosts and 2,000 virtual machines (VMs) that run the agency’s critical systems. Thirty traditional physical servers run mostly file servers.

When Rijkswaterstaat’s IT team attempted to back up its VMs with the same tool used to back up its physical machines, several problems arose. First, scripts had to be created to back up the VMs, yet backups failed 60% of the time, making it difficult and time-consuming to reliably recover individual files for the agency’s 15,000 employees. In addition, the legacy backup tool was restricted to full backups that required a great deal of backup storage. And, the legacy tool didn’t offer replication capabilities. The IT team wanted to replicate VMs onsite for high availability and between datacentres for disaster recovery (DR).

An enterprise organisation like Rijkswaterstaat needed modern data protection for its vast virtual environment. If the IT team could find a fast and reliable backup and recovery solution for VMs, it could achieve its goal of meeting the agency’s backup schedule, and satisfy recovery point and recovery time objectives (RPOs and RTOs).

The Veeam Solution

Rijkswaterstaat chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ for its virtual environment. Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable data protection for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V and delivers exactly the capabilities Rijkswaterstaat needs.

“Veeam was the only solution to meet our requirements,” said an infrastructure engineer at Rijkswaterstaat. “With Veeam we can back up our VMs in the required timeframe and recover files quickly for our users. We picked Veeam because it’s the market leader for backup in virtual environments.”

Before choosing Veeam, the IT team tested several backup and recovery tools. Veeam won on price, functionality, speed to implement and vSphere integration. For example, features such as forever-incremental backup for multiple restore points and Instant VM Recovery™ help the team meet RPOs and RTOs.

“We didn’t have even a moment to think about RPOs and RTOs before Veeam was implemented because the legacy backup tool failed so often,” he explained. “If it succeeded, it could only make a full backup that hadn’t been compressed or deduplicated, so the backup required a lot of storage space. We think that Veeam’s builtin deduplication, compression and incremental backup method will reduce storage use significantly.”

During the first run of a backup job, Veeam copies and compresses all data blocks on a VM. Subsequent backups are incremental; Veeam only copies data blocks that have changed since the last run, and it deduplicates similar copy blocks when backing up multiple VMs.

When one of the agency’s storage systems, which held 600 VMs, failed, the team was glad it had Veeam because the legacy backup tool would not have been able to restore the VMs. Team members fixed the storage system, but if they hadn’t been able to fix it, they could have recovered the VMs directly from Veeam backups.

In addition to backing up VMs, Rijkswaterstaat replicates VMs between datacentres for DR. The agency will consider replication for another use in the near future. When it finishes relocating and improving its datacentres, Rijkswaterstaat will consider using Veeam to migrate VMs from the old datacentres to the new ones.

Rijkswaterstaat also may implement SureBackup® to verify the recoverability of backups. Veeam automatically validates backups by running VMs from them in an isolated Virtual Lab. The Virtual Lab, which runs outside of the production environment, can also be used for granular item-level recovery, testing software updates and troubleshooting issues.

The Results

Feature-rich solution delivers fast, reliable backup and recovery
Veeam Backup & Replication gives Rijkswaterstaat fast, flexible and reliable backup and recovery of virtualized applications and data, helping it meet its backup schedule, RPOs and RTOs. Instant VM Recovery enables recovery in minutes by restarting a VM directly from a backup, and SureBackup automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup.

Built-in functionality reduces backup storage consumption
Unlike Rijkswaterstaat’s legacy backup tool, Veeam provides forever-incremental backup. That functionality, combined with built-in compression and deduplication, reduces backup storage utilization.

Replication provides disaster recovery and enables VM migration
Veeam unites backup and replication in a single, cost-efficient solution. When Rijkswaterstaat’s new and improved datacentres are completed, the IT team may migrate VMs from the old datacentres to the new ones using Veeam replication.

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