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IDC

Company:

In 1940, the South African Parliament established the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to advance industrial policy and ease the disruption of trade between Europe and South Africa during the Second World War. Today the IDC essentially drives industrialisation by financing development projects, promoting national and international partnerships across industries, and supporting regional economic growth. Fully owned by the South African government, the IDC employs 850 people.

Challenge:

The IDC’s IT infrastructure must be extremely agile so it can respond quickly to changes in the economy while staying on track for long-term growth. In an effort to maintain agility, the IDC set up several solutions for backup, replication and monitoring, but that created silos. Managing the silos became so time-intensive that RTPO was 48 hours, which was unacceptable for an always-on organisation.

Results:

  • Ensures 24.7 Availability of critical decision-making data
  • Saves R17.1 million ($1.3 million) in data centre resources and thousands of hours in troubleshooting
  • Facilitates fast issue resolution so the business and users aren’t impacted

The Business Challenge

Industrial development is at the heart of the IDC’s economic strategy. As a development financier, the IDC proactively identifies and funds high-impact and labour-intensive projects to foster balanced, sustainable economic growth. In 2015, funding reached an all-time high of R14.5 billion, an increase of 26% compared to 2014. These investments created or saved more than 15,000 jobs in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, metal fabrication, clothing and textiles.

The IDC’s priorities are aligned with government policy. Hence, the IDC must be agile in responding to economic challenges while staying on course with long-term growth plans. In an effort to maintain agility, the IDC set out to build a highly available IT infrastructure.

“We implemented different replication products for creating what we believed would deliver high availability of critical applications, operating systems and storage,” said Gert Prinsloo, Infrastructure Manager at IDC. “We also implemented different monitoring products for server and storage capacity planning. In the end, what we thought was giving us high availability was fighting against us.”

Prinsloo said the time required to manage the siloed infrastructure prevented agility. Backup and recovery were slow, and visibility into relationships between virtual and physical resources was non-existent. Recovery time and point objectives (RTPO™) were 48 hours, which was unacceptable for an always-on organisation.

“Our siloed approach to high availability was holding us back,” Prinsloo said. One of the questions our CEO routinely asks our CIO is if our decision-making data is available. We couldn’t guarantee continuous availability.”

The Veeam Solution

Veeam® provides the IDC with 24.7 Availability of decision-making data, and so much more.

“Veeam became a guiding force in our IT infrastructure,” Prinsloo said. “In addition to keeping us agile so we can respond quickly to changing business needs, Veeam opened our mind to simplifying virtualisation management, optimising our resources and extending our data centre spend. Veeam is the golden glove in our organisation.”

Veeam supported the company’s digital transformation strategy by replacing all of the products used for virtual machine (VM) backup, replication and monitoring, enabling the IDC to tear down the silos. The IDC succeeded in simplifying virtualisation management and saved R5.1 million ($374,000) in product and licensing costs, as well as thousands of hours in troubleshooting time.

Next Veeam helped optimise resources and extend the data centre spend. Instead of replacing 400TB of old (but not obsolete) storage, the IDC repurposed it as backup storage because Veeam is storage-agnostic, saving R12 million ($882,000). Based on Veeam alerts about over-committed and under-committed VMs, the IDC makes the best use of backup resources, and plans/budgets for new resources.

Prinsloo said Veeam not only saved the company R17.1 million ($1.3 million) over a five-year period, Veeam also helped guide a data centre refresh to create a simpler but more advanced and future-ready IT infrastructure.

“The reason we replaced aging production storage with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) 3PAR StoreServ is because Veeam integrates so well with HPE. That integration enabled us to offload backup from our production environment so the business and our users aren’t inconvenienced. Veeam backs up, replicates and recovers from HPE 3 PAR StoreServ snapshots quickly and efficiently, which reduces our RTPO to 15 minutes.”

Prinsloo said Veeam is a life-changer for him and his colleagues, saving them loads of time. For example, when one of the VMs running SAP failed—the IDC’s core business application—they used Instant VM Recovery® to restore it in minutes from a regular backup. They knew the VM was restorable because they had verified recoverability using SureBackup®. (They verify recoverability of replicas too using SureReplica.) Verification takes place in an isolated environment called a Virtual Lab, which is also where team members test software patches before putting them into production.

“Being able to test patches quickly and easily with Veeam helps us protect the business and our users from being impacted,” Prinsloo said. “When we’re confident a software patch won’t affect a production VM, we take a snapshot of the VM first for safety sake. If we forget to delete the snapshot, like we did after patching SAP—our most critical business application—Veeam alerts us. In that situation, Veeam saved the day because SAP would have fallen over and caused all sorts of headaches.”

Veeam saves the day for individual users too.

“Veeam helped us restore a user’s desktop that had been infected with Ransomware,” Prinsloo said. “We had him back online quickly without paying ransom and without losing data. Thanks to Veeam our users and the business will always have access to what they need, whenever they need it. Now when the CEO asks if our data is available we say, ‘Heck yes!’”

The Results

  • Ensures 24.7 Availability of critical decision-making data
    “There’s not a single product available that delivers the level of 24.7 Availability that Veeam gives an always-on organisation like the IDC,” Prinsloo said. “We use the word ‘groundbreaking’ when we describe Veeam.”
  • Saves R17.1 million ($1.3 million) in data centre resources and thousands of hours in troubleshooting
    “We take the time that Veeam saves us in troubleshooting and use it to proactively improve upon our IT infrastructure,” Prinsloo said. “The entire IT team has leapt forward in terms of output because we’ve automated several processes, such as software patches for users. Now the Help Desk connects to our network automatically to distribute patches.”
  • Facilitates fast issue resolution so the business and users aren’t impacted
    “One of our biggest challenges before deploying Veeam was visibility into relationships between our physical and virtual resources,” Prinsloo said. “We’re over the moon now that we have deep visibility because we can resolve issues proactively, which prevents them from inconveniencing users and our business.”
IDC
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