DKSH is the leading Market Expansion Services provider with a focus on Asia, helping other companies and brands to grow their business in new or existing markets. With 825 business locations in 37 markets and 31,970 specialized staff, DKSH generated net sales of CHF 11.0 billion in 2017. DKSH Corporate Shared Services Center Sdn. Bhd. (DKSH CSSC) in Malaysia was set up in 2004 to centralise and standardise the company’s IT platform.
With data of customers, POS systems, transport management, sales force automation solution, etc. to handle, it is critical that DKSH ensures hyperavailability of its applications and data to prevent any interruptions across its entire business. To achieve this, it needed to standardise all backup operations across the company. With locations in 37 markets and an environment that is 95% virtualised, bringing all of DKSH’s applications, data stores and software to one centrally managed location (while not affecting live production environments) took a lot of heavy lifting.
A widely dispersed business, with two data centres and over 15,000 users in offices and virtual presences across the world, DKSH Corporate Shared Services Centre (DKSH CSSC) handles data on customers, POS systems, transport management, proof of delivery, and more, having its home in the company’s IT hub in Kuala Lumpur. In order to achieve a higher service level of systems and data availability, DKSH recently set out to look for a scalable and robust solution and established a strategy to standardise its backup architecture and operations across the board, for over 700 VMs with a total of 50TB of data. Central management of backup could then be performed across any business region or office, regardless of the size, time zone or IT issue involved.
A user-friendly, scalable solution capable to be deployed across the global network was needed. As Sunthar Maniam, Senior Director, Group IT Infrastructure of DKSH CSSC, says; “It’s absolutely critical that our applications and data are available all the time. Even five or ten minutes of downtime means significant monetary losses.”
The high-availability solution has to support its business solution systems where sales teams take orders from customers. If there is disruption and the system is down, sales teams cannot take orders. DKSH will incur significant monetary losses, and also penalties from customers.
In addition, the solution needs to continue to support backup to on-premise storage or to whichever privately hosted cloud or public cloud architecture that DKSH selects in the future. “It’s about having the flexibility we need, for the solution to have good options to move forward,” Maniam says.
Hitachi Sunway Information Systems Sdn. Bhd., has been working with DKSH for a number of years, and with positive experiences. “With a good understanding of DKSH’s infrastructure, we were able to recommend a feasible DR solution that fits its business requirements. We proposed Veeam solution due to its reliability, simplicity and financial viability. A proof-of-concept (POC) was initiated, and the outcome was a good solution fit for DKSH,” said CHEAH Kok Hoong, Group CEO and Director of Hitachi Sunway Information Systems.
Veeam® Backup & Replication™ became the fulcrum in DKSH’s plan to standardise global operations. Now Maniam, his staff and other stakeholders can monitor, roll out and manage updates and its availability systems according to global policies.
“Veeam gives us the flexibility to do that,” he says, “We manage backups and restore domains and data very quickly. It’s very streamlined.”
Veeam’s ease of management and deployment and the efficiency of bringing users up to speed on how it works has transformed the company’s backup and recovery function, but it’s in DKSH’s recovery time objective (RTO) where Veeam has really made a difference, reducing restoration times from five hours or more to less than 30 minutes.
With faster recovery of critical systems back to a usable state, time and financial losses can be minimized.
Not only that, Veeam beats DKSH’s legacy solution because it offers backup and recovery precision that ensures even more efficiency. “Our old system used to take five hours (for a standard size VM) because it actually recovered the whole system, so we could then recover the data we wanted, whereas with Veeam it can directly access just the files we need from the entire dataset.”
That means Maniam and his staff can use Veeam Instant VM Recovery simply for backup and recovery or to clone the entire system to create a sandboxed environment for testing or applying new features.
Veeam’s ability to integrate painlessly with DKSH’s incoming storage solution, Nimble Storage (from Hewlett Packard Enterprise), will be an added advantage.
The Veeam and Nimble Storage integration will give DKSH better access and insight into crash-consistent and application-consistent storage snapshots that are quickly and easily replicable to secondary arrays for development, backup or testing.
Centralising key operations in its Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) IT hub to manage and roll-out global policies is one of DKSH’s key strategies to streamline its IT operations. Cloud-ready Veeam gives it the capability to do so, to centrally manage and standardise remote sites, as well as the flexibility to scale to the cloud when the time comes. The IT team is currently piloting the use of Veeam Availability Console (VAC) to help monitor backups in other locations and VAC is targeted to be rolled out to the rest of the markets towards the end of the year.