The Australian Museum takes pride in its national role as a leading and dynamic source of reliable scientific information and a touchstone for informed debate about some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing the Australian and Pacific regions. Among the 18 million objects in its collection, the Museum holds many artefacts from Indigenous Australia and the Pacific, a record of human diversity and a living wellspring for regional cultural diversity.
It partners with other major museums of the world in sharing its irreplaceable collection of fossils, minerals, meteorites and gemstones that provide a geological perspective of the planet. The Museum houses representative specimens of native Australian mammals, birds, reptiles and fish that tell many stories about the region’s unique wildlife, as well as countless invertebrates from a diversity of land and marine environments.
The Museum was facing a dilemma: in order to continue its critical collecting and research work, it needed a first-class availability IT solution to secure and meet the expanding volume of requests to access its collections. It also had to ensure its front desk, ticketing and visitor-facing IT functions were supporting and enabling its critical revenue streams.
Michael Brady, Manager of ICT for the Museum IT team, supports a staff strength of 350, including 60 scientists. “We have a huge amount of collection databases. We borrow and lend collection artefacts to museums worldwide. Ensuring availability of collection data is extremely important because there is a very serious chain of custody responsibilities both internally and externally. We may be handling heritage and history but our IT has to be 21st century.”
He recalls what life was like before deploying the Veeam’s availability solution. “It was a tape backup system, involving an inordinate amount of tapes, many of them stored offsite. We always seemed to be buying more tapes at a cost of $1,500 a set.
He remembers the nightmare of Monday mornings, when backup application was still running from the weekend and the frustrating workload of staff taking off and reloading tapes, and trying to identify the right tape. “Too often we could not restore a file so there was a low level of confidence in recovering our data.
“We had to address this risk factor. In addition to our own reputation as a recreational and educational venue, we are a government organization subject to strict compliance standards. Costs were a further challenge because every not-for-profit operation has to maximize every dollar spent. This dictates that we present not only a very appealing but also professional face to our public.”
Brady pays tribute to the expertise and support that the Museum has received from its IT consultant, Nexus IT and Communication, for alerting the organization to the power of Veeam’s availability solution. “While compliance is our way of life we need to combine that with a flexible IT approach. Nexus offered an agile solution. It helped us create a road map that moved us from tape to disk backup, and lay the path that will lead us onwards to a cloud availability solution.
“We are using the Linux version to back up our collections database – one of the most important things we have in this organization,” says Brady. “We can virtually restore an image of a VM and run in a test bubble to make sure that it works.
He is confident that the risk of losing data, or being a target of a malware attack, is certainly reduced and says “I can sleep at night because Veeam is proving to be particularly valuable when previously we could have been vulnerable. Given our new backup regime we feel confident we can recover if we had an incident that led to disaster recovery.” Knowing that restoration of data can be done as close to real time as possible with Veeam SureBackup, from 1 day (previously) to 1 hour with the new availability solution, Brady is assured that this improvement would help the organization move a step closer to its digital transformation effort.
Sean Murphy, managing director of Nexus IT and Communications, has played an advisory role from the outset. He highlights the fact that Brady and his team were facing a lot of legacy technology challenges and a remarkable number of things that needed fixing. “The Museum was able to do some major changes to critical systems, such as mail, central database collections, image and marketing management because there was the assurance of an availability solution that just worked. They completed 34 transformational projects successfully, and they were able to do that because the risk profile on all of them was managed by Veeam.”
Brady’s philosophy is for IT to enable the Museum’s workforce. “The idea is for them to sit down and log on to find their machines and the applications working. For instance, their Windows 10 machines are much faster and Microsoft Office 2016 is the latest it can be.”
Additionally, the Veeam Explorer was very helpful when the team did the 365 migration. There was a very complex cluster of exchange servers such that a senior engineer is required to retrieve a single email. “Veeam Explorer enables the helpdesk and support staff to be self-serviced, which speeds recovery time, ticketing and delivery of service to the end customer.”