With a population of approximately 75,000 people, comprising an area of 5,229 square kilometres, Hastings is one of the two major urban areas in Hawke’s Bay, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Hastings District Council has 550 employees located across one main administration campus and 16 remote sites, facilitating key local government services along with the strategic management and maintenance of its municipality and community.
Hastings District Council’s previous storage and backup solution could no longer scale to meet growth capacities. In addition to being past its support lifecycle, it also required significant manual intervention to maintain the Council’s day-to-day operations. This resulted in high operational costs and distraction from more important tasks. Multiple products were required to cope with the many stages between image creation, and the eventual shipping of offsite backup tapes. A formal archival component for data, email and retired systems was also lacking. Specialised backup requirements and strategy were employed to backup SQL databases.
With 50 years’ experience in technology, Datacom has grown to be one of Asia Pacific’s leading locally-owned IT-based service providers. Datacom operates across New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Datacom prides itself on being vendor independent and making decisions in its customers’ best interests. Its open approach focuses clearly on what customers’ business needs.
In Hastings District Council, the IT infrastructure is the foundation that all other business units rely on to perform daily operations. Like many government organisations, it is facing the challenge of a legacy system that is unable to meet growth capacities. Hastings District Council’s data protection architecture was originally an afterthought. A mixture of a paid solution and various free software systems was used to backup and restore important council and resident information.
“Maintaining the systems was terrible,” Hastings District Council Infrastructure Support Officer, Joshua King said. “It wasn’t reliable and consumed quite a lot of my time to babysit it, checking and fixing up the backups.”
With a population of nearly 75,000 citizens and over 550 staff members, King explains a large portion of the data held on file at Council was resident’s information such as house plans and dog registrations.
“It is our responsibility to do a good job for residents and the thought of losing data was not a good feeling.”
Additionally, the legacy solution in place was past its support lifecycle, and storage and backups could no longer scale to meet forecasted growth.
There was significant manual intervention to maintain day-to-day operations, resulting in high operational costs and distraction from more important tasks.
“The two main drivers were the reliability of our backup solution in its entirety,” King said. “And the ability to scale as our storage increases. Based on historical data, we forecast a 15 percent disk space usage increase every year, but as business units create more and more media rich data, this is likely to be higher in reality.”
Multiple software systems were required to cope with the stages between image creation, and specialised backup requirements were in place to backup the SQL databases.
Taking advantage of a reorganisation within Council, including new management, King raised the issue of implementing a unified solution. “We fought hard for it. The decision was based on how important it was and the time it was taking for staff to maintain.”
Council issued a RFP for the project and assessed responses from 13 vendors. Following a weighted evaluation, Hastings District Council went with Datacom, a partner they have worked with for over a decade.
“It was a no brainer from a reseller point of view to go with Veeam,” says Hayden Friend, HPE Solutions Architect - Procurement Services Group, a Platinum partner of Veeam and HPE.
Since the rollout of the Veeam Availability Suite™ Enterprise Plus edition in December 2016, King has spent a lot less time worrying about the backup and storage process at Hastings District Council.
Specifically, he no longer spends one-sixth of his time monitoring the process. The workload on the production environment has been all but eliminated. Backups of 28.5 TB of data have reduced from more than 16 hours to less than two hours, an 88% reduction of time.
The number of backup management tools has also reduced from four to just one; reducing complexity, risk and staff training requirements.
Hastings District Council replicates a subset of its important servers to a Veeam Cloud Connect service provider (TIMG), and after deduplication and compression Council is currently using 12 TB of their 20 TB capacity.
“We still check the Veeam console daily as part of our routine, but everything is always successful. We’ve set up jobs and they just happen. When we need to do a restoration, it just works. I can confidently tell our users that if a file was once where they said it was that we will get it back for them.
“It’s one product that handles everything from the initial backup, to replication to shipping the backups off-site. This is a huge difference from the four cobbled-together products we were previously using.”
King said Veeam is also fast. The previous solution’s backups would bleed into the next business day. “Now all our backup jobs finish in under 2.5 hours, but if they all ran at once it’d be done in just over an hour.”