The Business Challenge
Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. has been active in various charitable and social areas
for more than 60 years. In the tradition of the Protestant Order of St John,
its tasks today include rescue and medical services, disaster control and first
aid training. It also provides social services such as working with children and young
people, as well as caring for the elderly and sick.
The organization is not only active within Germany, but also helps people in many crisis
regions around the world. Johanniter’s foreign service, for example, currently supports
more than 500,000 displaced citizens, including those in Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan,
Kenya and Lebanon.
“Our employees need access to a whole range of IT applications for their work,” says Ralf
Neumann, Head of IT/Technology at Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe’s Berlin/Brandenburg branch.
“The specialists in foreign service, for example, depend on reliable, around-the-clock email
communication. This is the only way they can professionally coordinate relief operations
and quickly provide those on site with what they need.”
The availability of data and applications is also crucial for many other tasks.
From planning services for people with mobility impairments to the collection
of patient data in ambulances, more and more processes are now digital.
In recent years, Johanniter’s nine regional divisions have had to invest strategically
in the development of a powerful central IT infrastructure.
“We have consolidated our IT systems into a common data center and virtualized
the infrastructure almost completely with VMware vSphere,” reports Neumann.
“Our goal was to make the operation of our 100 core applications as efficient and reliable
as possible. This also included the use of a powerful availability solution for our 600 virtual
machines and 250 terabytes of data. The IT managers wanted to ensure that our 60,000
emergency personnel at home and abroad could access all the necessary applications and
information at all times, no matter where they happened to be on the planet.”
The Veeam Solution
Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe tested various backup products but finally implemented Veeam
Backup & Replication in its new data center. “The decision to select Veeam was relatively
easy,” says Neumann. “The solution provides us with powerful features to quickly
back up and restore any workload. At the same time, we were convinced by the price/
performance ratio. In comparison to the other products tested, the Veeam solution was
around 25 percent more cost-effective.”
With the new solution deployed, Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe immediately saw the availability
of its core applications improve. Today, failed virtual machines (VMs) can be restarted
within minutes directly from the backup with Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery® technology.
Granular recovery of individual application objects has also become much easier. With
Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange, IT staff can quickly recover deleted emails or
user mailboxes. “This is a huge advantage for the everyday life of our employees. When
working abroad, during rescue and disaster control operations, minutes are often crucial
— a prolonged failure of email communication would have serious consequences,”
From the very beginning, the organization’s IT specialists were impressed with
the ease of use of the Veeam solution. Employees save a lot of time during restores
in the Microsoft SQL Server environment. With just a few clicks, they can now reset
individual files or entire databases to a specific point in time. Thanks to the largely
automated recovery processes, no expert knowledge is required.
“We have built our data center largely on HPE components — that’s why the smooth
interaction of the solutions is so important to us,” explains the Head of IT/Technology.
Backups can be created with Veeam directly from storage snapshots of the HPE 3PAR
StoreServ arrays used. For critical applications, Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe can perform data
backups at very short intervals, without affecting the performance of the production
systems. “We no longer have any problems with backup time windows and can also fulfill
special requests and back up all important applications several times a day.”
The Veeam SureBackup® feature also automatically checks the recoverability of virtual
machines. The VMs are started in an isolated environment and undergo a series of
functional tests. The administrators of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe not only have individual
machines checked, but also entire server groups with mutual dependencies. They then
receive the results of these recovery tests by email. This ensures IT always has proof
that the backups were carried out successfully.
“With Veeam, we in the Berlin-Brandenburg regional association alone have reduced
the annual effort required to maintain and secure our systems by almost 50 percent,”
summarizes Neumann. “Our colleagues from other regional associations report
With less money spent on resources, Johanniter has more funds for digital innovation.
Among other things, the organization is currently working on initiatives such as the
use of drones in disaster relief areas, the development of a digital platform for care
and support services, and the development of intelligent assistants for the home
environment. “Digitization enables us to better tailor our services to the needs of those
affected and their families,” says Neumann. “Solutions like Veeam Backup & Replication
are incredibly valuable, ensuring digital services are always available and that our help
arrives where and when it is needed.”
- Data and application availability guarantee humanitarian aid around the world
Whether it’s a rescue mission in Germany or a relief operation in an international
crisis area, Veeam gives Johanniter’s employees reliable access to email and other
communication services at all times. Accidentally deleted messages or damaged
mailboxes can be restored with just a few clicks.
- High-speed recovery times
With Veeam, the IT organization benefits from significantly reduced recovery times.
Failed virtual machines can be restarted within minutes directly from the backup.
The interaction of Veeam and HPE 3PAR StoreServ also makes it possible to create
backups directly from storage snapshots. This enables the IT organization to back up
critical applications several times a day, without burdening the performance of the
- Operating costs reduced by 50%, increasing resources for digital transformation
Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe was able to reduce the running costs for backing up
and maintaining its virtual infrastructure. This provides additional funds
for digitization projects. With Veeam, the relief organization also ensures
that innovative digital services are available around the clock.