Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG is a state-owned business that operates the
infrastructure for the Lower Saxony ports. In addition to the port facility’s new
construction, maintenance, servicing, bridges and locks, it is also responsible for
regulating ship traffic. A huge amount of business-relevant information and data,
including data transmitted from the ships, is created from customer or usage fees.
In addition, notifications about hazardous goods is partly forwarded to disaster
prevention and trade supervisory board authorities.
In contrast to ports with only one location, Niedersachsen Ports is responsible for 15
locations, from the Dutch border up to Elbe. This translates to high requirements to
meet the needs of information management. “To connect the data from all locations
and then to protect it is the big challenge for our IT department,” said Michael
Behrends, Niedersachsen Ports System Administrator. The IT-department maintains
a main data center and five additional data centers, where 90% of the servers run
as 250 VMs on 29 VMware vSphere hosts. The IT department is also charged with
management and security of 400 staff members’ data. Backups are provided on Dell
EMC storage subsystems of the model series VNX as a primary backup device. The
secured machines on Dell EMC Data Domains are relocated downstream by Boost-
Protocol and replicated between the locations.
The IT team originally counted on a conventional back-up solution. However, that
solution could not keep up with rising VMware vSphere host consolidations, service
loads and accumulating server data. The team was no longer able to deliver optimal
results. To become more flexible and faster and perform backup and recovery at
every location, Niedersachsen Ports needed a new solution immediately.
Brinova Systemhaus GmbH, a long-standing Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG
partner, brought Veeam into play at this point. Brinova Consulting leader, Sascha
Bolmer, was well aware of the customer’s requirements and he recommended Veeam
Availability Suite™ as the ideal solution for this virtual environment.
The Veeam Solution
“We found out very soon that the Veeam solution fulfils all our needs and fits exactly
in our environment,” said Niedersachsen Ports’ Behrends. “For almost a year now,
Veeam Availability Suite has proved how capable it is.”
For the IT department, “the induction of the solution was a must — and not an
option,” since it also has integrated WAN acceleration, said Behrends.
Veeam WAN Acceleration is specifically designed for virtual environments with good
deduplication, compression and caching techniques, which are important to achieve
the required bandwidth for backup and copy transfers via WAN. “This capacity is
of enormous importance for the security of our scattered locations,” said Behrends.
“Earlier we could not back-up from one location to the other due to the too ‘thin’ lines.
Thanks to WAN Acceleration, this is not a problem anymore. We can also meet our
time windows now.” An additional acceleration is taken care of in a second step by Dell
EMC Data Domain Boost-Integration. After the deduplicated security is put away on a
back-up server with Veeam, the backup is thrust onto the Data Domain for long-term
archiving. Back-up performance is then doubled using the previously mentioned
Veeam acceleration technique and additional Dell EMC Data Domain Boost.
A further advantage of Dell EMC Data Domain Boost integration with Veeam is the ability
to create new, full backups on the Data Domain, without having to actually move the
data in the device. The full backups are synthetically generated from existing data.
Even if the internal IT department has not had any Service Legal Agreements (SLAs)
to fulfil at this point, it still needs to be reassured that all data is always recoverable.
The most disastrous scenario would be a failure of the domains controllers, because
due to many interdependencies, staff members of an entire location would then not
be able to keep track of their work. With Instant VM Recovery™, it is ensured if there
is a failure that VMs could be booted up within a few minutes directly from a regular
backup™ it is ensured that the virtual machines can be booted up directly from a
regular back-up within a few minutes if there should be a failure.
“Mercifully, we were never in such a precarious situation before. All the same, our
regular tests for an emergency show that Veeam would obviously save us,” said
Behrends. “And Instant VM Recovery has never let us down. The recovery happens
within minutes, and more importantly, automatically.” Because the IT team can rely
100% on the function, it counts on this DR strategy.
Recovery by VM level is a novelty for the IT department of Niedersachsen Ports it
was unable recover complete VMs from its own backups. “The recovery of data level
function is twice as fast with Veeam, compared to the old solution. Management of
the Veeam solution is also faster over the GUI,” added Behrends.
The IT department also uses Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange. The
application can select data from an Exchange backup and recover individual
elements such as emails. Even here, the Veeam solution proves its advantages.
- Shorter back-up windows and higher performance with Veeam WAN
Acceleration and Dell EMC Data Domain Boost: Thanks to integrated Veeam
WAN Acceleration and Dell EMC Data Domain Boost-Protocol, it is possible
to back up every location the first time via the WAN-connection, to restore
and, as a result, to be more flexible and faster.
“This same back-up software is employed at all locations; it is running stably and
the backup and recovery don’t cause a headache anymore,” said Behrends.
- Integrated deduplication and compression function reduces
the necessary back-up memory:
With deduplication and compression, the Veeam solution allows for faster backups
and also saves back-up memory in the scattered Niedersachsen Ports infrastructure.
- The graphic user interface (GUI) reduces expense through its logical and
simple user guidance, and also simplifies setting up back-ups:
With the extremely user friendly and logically structured GUI, staff members
can quickly find data, thanks to sophisticated indexing methods. They can also
create a simple backup/recovery strategy, which is an advantage that’s not to be
underestimated these days.