As a popular contract logistics service, Century Logistics Holdings Bhd has very high expectations around the availability of key systems and data to support clients with 24.7.365 operations. Losing access to critical data and applications would severely disrupt workflows, causing problems at each link in the logistics chain. As logistics is an integrated and refined service required to keep the business world running smoothly — when logistics providers suffer downtime, the disruption hits like a domino effect, disrupting not only Century Logistics, but also their clients, and the clients’ customers.
“Any down time at our end would interrupt the flow of productivity and fail to fulfil the customer’s KPI — or even result in a total service failure, as operations rely on IT systems completely,” says Albert Soo, General Manager, Data Management Solutions & Information Technology for Century Logistics.
“This includes our systems for job entry, status update, cross services request, monitoring, tracking and multi-systems integration, so this is a huge impact on operations, and our customers could suffer not just inconvenience, but business loss also.” IT systems also play a critical role in simplifying otherwise complex operations by automating much of the complexity, integrating and streamlining services.
Century had to endure major pain points with its previous file-based backup software, which did not possess the data replication capability that they needed for 24.7.365 availability. It also burdened Soo and his IT team with added maintenance, sucking up critical time and resources.
“Our previous solution required agents to be deployed and maintained for each VM backup and recovery, which took far too long to complete. We weren’t able to have the latest backup set available soon enough, in fact it was more than 6 hours from real time data, when we wanted it immediately,” says Soo. “Lastly, not all of our critical data could be backed up and recovered due to limitations in the software.”
In 2014, as the company sought to become more competitive in its IT systems and more cost effective in its operations, Century sought a solution that was agentless, allowed for more rapid backup & recovery, provided ease of use at a reasonable price, and was built for virtualized environments, with a deeper hypervisor-specific support.
Century Logistics chose Veeam® Availability Suite™ after it ticked all their boxes with its simple integration, two-in-one backup and recovery capability, speedy results, enhanced cost effectiveness, and ease of use.
“Veeam leverages our VMware ESXi snapshot capabilities for VM backup, which can be scheduled close to real-time,” says Soo. Veeam also saw Century’s backup and recovery process reduced to a fraction of the time it took previously, shaving 30 minutes off the process for every VM — roughly 26 hours saved overall. “Daily incremental backups now take only 6 minutes, and full weekly and monthly backups taking only 30 minutes,” says Soo. Meanwhile, backups and replicas were now moved offsite up to x50 times faster.
“Veeam enabled instant VMware snapshots and let us create backups and replicas from storage snapshots as often as we like and whenever we like,” says Soo. “Being able to maintain image-based replicas either onsite for high availability, or offsite for our disaster recovery, greatly simplifies our replica takeover without disruption business operations.” The enhanced capability means Century has greatly reduced its risk of major disruption due to unexpected downtime, with the ability to quickly restore core information and systems fast enough not to hinder productivity.
Veeam has also allowed the recovery time of Century’s critical data and applications reduced from hours to minutes, shaving 45 minutes off a full VM restore to less than 10 minutes in total. RPO has seen almost a 70% improvement, reduced to 2 hours (down from 6 hours), and its RTO reduced to 6 hours (down from 24 hours). This improvement has been demonstrated in numerous drills, as well as during a real outage last year when Century’s primary data centre was down due to an infrastructure failure.
“Our DR was so successful; it’s such a huge improvement on that end. We have even shared the details of it with our new shareholders, recommending they look into Veeam for other subsidiaries because of how well it works for us,” says Soo. “In addition to providing enhanced capabilities, Veeam has also represented a substantial reduction in TCO for backup and recovery, saving Century Logistics up to US$67,000 (equivalent of approximately 300,000 Malaysian Ringgit) in a year.”
“With our previous solution we were facing huge additional costs due to our storage expansion needs. With the same amount, we found we could invest far more into Veeam for a full five years into our expansion,” says Soo. “The business case for Veeam is obvious and we will continue to use it for many years to come.”