The Business Challenge
L&L Energy, Inc. is a publicly traded company based in the United States, with many of its 30 employees located in the Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces of China. Email is vital to the company’s operations and the most important application for its users. The IT infrastructure consists of two physical servers that run Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, and approximately 10 open-source servers that support functions such as the help desk and inventory system. Jason Knight, IT manager at L&L Energy, is the sole support person and oversees all IT operations.
Knight was brought on board in 2011 when L&L Energy suffered a systems crash. The company essentially had no backup solution in place. “It was a major salvage operation that took about 100 hours to complete,” Knight explained. “I used open-source tools to access the server drives and got files off manually. I was able to recover most of the data, including the Exchange database. I realized that L&L Energy needed more efficient data protection and disaster-recovery strategies, and I recommended that we go to a virtualized infrastructure.”
Knight was familiar with some of the data-protection tools on the market, but not satisfied that any were right for L&L Energy, especially since he had no IT staff. Knight needed a simple, but effective, solution that he could manage by himself. He also wanted the ability to replicate the two servers so that he would always have a backup available.
“I looked at ways I could do a replication at the virtual-machine level. I ran across a Veeam free trial and decided to give it a try,” Knight said. “I was impressed with that, so I took a closer look at Veeam’s Backup & Replication. It offered granular recovery for individual files and emails, which was one of the main capabilities we needed.”
Today, L&L Energy’s environment is 100 percent virtualized. Knight uses Veeam to back up the entire IT infrastructure, which includes two VMware ESX hosts running 14 virtual machines (VMs).
The Veeam Solution
Knight decided on the Veeam Backup Essentials bundle because it gives him powerful capabilities at an affordable price and is easy to deploy and run. The package combines Veeam® Backup & Replication™ with virtualization management capabilities from Veeam ONE™, which are ideal for small businesses such as L&L Energy.
Ease of use was the primary selling point. “Veeam practically runs itself,” Knight observed. “You just install it, configure it, and it does the rest. I can’t tell you how important that is to a one-man shop. I get a daily email that tells me how the backups are running and I don’t really have to think too much about it. I can also easily monitor backup jobs from my home office, which means I can essentially oversee the system 24/7.”
Replication is equally as important. “We have full replication now and if I have a physical problem on one server, I can switch to the other one,” Knight explained. “I can easily restore individual files or an entire server. This flexibility makes my job a lot easier.”
Since L&L Energy had no backup solution in place prior to Veeam, it is difficult for Knight to determine just how fast Veeam is compared to other solutions. “The backups run rather quickly,” he said. “We back up over 900 gigabytes of information in approximately one hour each night. We back up to a virtual hard disk attached to Veeam, and also to an off-site removable disk.”
Even more than speed, continuous user access and 24/7 email availability are important. “Our main concern is ensuring that backups do not interfere with email access,” Knight said. “We have to be up 24/7 so users in both the U.S. and China can access their email at any time. With Veeam, backups are quick and efficient, and users do not experience any disruption in service. “
Veeam ONE is a powerful integrated solution that provides a comprehensive view of the entire virtual infrastructure for real-time monitoring of performance, events and utilization of resources. “With Veeam ONE in place, I can identify and react to issues quickly,” said Knight. “Right now, I use the reporting function to identify the pressure points, primarily disk space. As the company continues to grow, I know the additional capabilities we have with Veeam ONE will be useful in demonstrating to the management team the value that virtualization provides.”
Veeam support and the community forums have been especially useful. “When I first installed Veeam, there were no problems with the software, but I was inexperienced and had questions about some of the capabilities,” Knight said. “The support staff basically walked me through what I needed to do to get a better understanding. The community forums have reams of information and are also extremely helpful when I have a quick question.”
As a small company, L&L Energy does have budget considerations. “Our management team was apprehensive about the start-up costs to virtualize our environment,” Knight said. “I told them that Veeam’s direct costs are much lower than most other products. We were able to get up and running very inexpensively and maintenance fees are very affordable. Veeam is a great choice for a small business like ours.”
While Knight primarily uses Veeam Backup Essentials to back up the email system and replicate the two primary servers, other built-in capabilities will be used as the company grows and the network expands. “I am looking forward to exploring Veeam’s other capabilities as we add staff and establish a co-location site in China. Veeam will be an integral part of our business going forward.”
Simple, effective solution that is easy for a one-person IT staff to monitor and maintain.L&L Energy has one person to oversee its IT infrastructure and ensure that remote users in the U.S. and China have 24/7 email availability. Because Knight has many responsibilities, he appreciates that Veeam is easy to run. A daily email gives him the status of his backups, and he is able to monitor all backup jobs remotely to provide 24/7 oversight.
Replication ensures easy data and email recovery, should the system crash.
Thanks to Veeam, L&L Energy has full replication of its two primary servers, which means that email and data can be easily restored. This eliminates the timeconsuming process of restoring files manually. It also provides the flexibility to restore an entire server or individual files.
Affordable pricing that fits the small-business budget.L&L Energy was able to implement Veeam very affordably. Veeam’s simple pricing structure is cost-effective, which means that maintenance fees are much more reasonable for a small business with a limited IT budget.