Vallejo Sanitation & Flood Control District (District) has experienced significant changes in its IT infrastructure over the last decade. It began with six physical servers, five keyboards and two monitors sitting on the floor of a server room. Each server ran up to18 critical applications. Jason Kaduk, Information Systems Specialist at the District, recognized the need for a complete overhaul. The first virtual server was added in 2009, and the network was essentially rebuilt from the ground up. "We evolved from a low-tech organization to one that uses technology to ensure the reliability and resilience of our data and enhance the efficiency of our operating processes," Kaduk said.
The core of the District’s infrastructure is built on HP technology, which includes HP LeftHand storage and HP StoreOnce backup systems. Today the environment is 96% virtualized and includes four VMware vSphere hosts and more than 90 virtual machines (VMs) that support all critical applications.
Kaduk understood that backup was a critical component of his new virtual environment. He initially used the same tool used to backup his physical servers. However, backups were slow and cumbersome to manage, and the backup system was very costly.
"When we began virtualizing, we spent a lot of money on agents, and had at least 26 different ones in place," Kaduk explained. "Our VMs were growing rapidly— we were bringing on 10 VMs every two months or so – which required more agents, so the costs kept rising. When renewal time rolled around, we knew we had to come up with a better, more cost-effective solution."
Kaduk had specific criteria that needed to be met to improve his backup system. He wanted a solution built specifically for the virtual environment that was easy to install and use, and performed fast, consistent backups. He was particularly looking for an agentless solution that would reduce operating costs and still be efficient. Further, the District required backup that was compatible with its HP environment. According to Kaduk, "We had made a sizeable investment in an all-HP infrastructure, so we needed a backup system that could be integrated seamlessly with that technology."
Kaduk looked at several possible solutions including Veeam® Backup & Replication™. "Veeam met all of our basic criteria, and seemed to be head and shoulders above the rest of the backup solutions on the market," he said. "Then I learned that Veeam was fully certified to work with HP StoreOnce storage. After that, it was no contest; we couldn’t wait to install Veeam."
Veeam’s reputation for fast, reliable, easy-to-use backup was confirmed from the start. "Veeam is easy to set up, configure and manage," Kaduk noted. "We back up to an HP StoreOnce D2D appliance and backup time has decreased about 60% from what we experienced with agents. Backing up one server used to take two hours; now we do it within a half hour. Because of the increased speed, we can also perform backups more frequently, with no disruption in service to users. The deduplication offered by Veeam, coupled with the deduplication available in the HP StoreOnce D2D appliance, significantly reduces backup storage consumption and helps the District cut costs. "I ran several scenarios and found that the best result was achieved by using the deduplication in Veeam software in conjunction with the hardware deduplication of StoreOnce," Kaduk reported. "We’ve achieved better than an 8:1 ratio, and can store 15 terabytes of data on the D2D but use only 1.6 terabytes of storage space."
Because Veeam is agentless, total operating costs have significantly decreased. "With Veeam, we don’t have to worry about purchasing and installing additional agents on every new VM," Kaduk explained. "This saves us thousands of dollars, with no downtime due to agent upgrades. And Veeam’s licensing model is simple, with no hidden costs or add-on charges."
The District uses HP LeftHand as its primary storage. LeftHand is ideal for the District, as it is optimized for virtualized environments and tightly integrates with the storage management functions of VMware and Microsoft applications. It provides continuous data availability to users and applications, and superior capacity utilization.
According to Kaduk, "When I learned that Veeam, working in conjunction with HP, was releasing new restore capabilities for SAN snapshots, it was as if Veeam understood our situation and designed a solution especially for us. I knew we were perfectly positioned with a backup solution using Veeam. It’s a huge plus that the systems are so compatible. We are currently setting up and plan to use the new Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots capability in Veeam Backup & Replication to recover VMs directly from HP LeftHand snapshots. That will increase our efficiency and make Veeam even more valuable."
The District has embraced virtualization, implementing a world-class infrastructure that is a model for other public agencies. According to Kaduk, "We are perceived as a leader in the wastewater industry, and many agencies look to the District for recommendations about using technology efficiently and effectively. State regulatory agencies also look to us as they develop industry guidelines. Veeam has played an important role in helping us meet state safety regulations regarding data protection."
Seamless integration with HP storage optimizes data protection
Veeam integrates with HP LeftHand storage to enable easy VM recovery from LeftHand snapshots. Veeam Backup & Replication is also certified with HP StoreOnce, providing a highly efficient end-to-end solution for data protection.
Savings of thousands of dollars in agent fees and disk space
Since Veeam is agentless, the District saves thousands of dollars in agent license and maintenance fees, and there is no downtime to accommodate agent upgrades. The combined deduplication features of Veeam and HP StoreOnce significantly reduce the amount of disk space required for backup files by a ratio of 8:1.
Easy-to-use solution improves VM backup speed and enables more frequent backups
The District's previous backup tool, designed for physical servers, was inefficient for VMs. Veeam is easy-to-use and manage, and reduces backup speed at least 60%. This allows critical servers such as Microsoft Exchange to be backed up several times a day, with full backups of all VMs weekly.