The Business Challenge
The IT team for Long Beach Transit supports more than 250 employees and oversees the main data center at the company’s headquarters in Long Beach, California, and an additional disaster recovery (DR) center at a colocation. Approximately 70 percent of the server infrastructure is virtualized and includes 10 VMware hosts and 70 Windows and Linux virtual machines (VMs). Ten physical servers, backed up by Symantec Backup Exec, support applications not yet virtualized, as well as legacy applications that cannot be virtualized.
Most of the applications that employees use daily have been virtualized, including Microsoft Office Suite. The IT team has also virtualized special applications such as the one that supports an automated dial-in service that provides daily bus schedules.
When Long Beach Transit began virtualizing in 2009, the IT team opted to use a then-popular virtualization-specific product to back up its VMs. Then in 2011, Mark Giorgis, Senior Network Administrator for Long Beach Transit, saw a demonstration of Veeam® Backup & Replication™ at an event hosted by MR2 Solutions, Inc., a long and trusted supplier to Long Beach Transit. As a Veeam ProPartner, MR2 Solutions understands the product’s capabilities and the problems it solves.
“In the early days of virtualization, there were few products that provided virtualization-specific backups,” explained Ron Salazar, General Manager for MR2 Solutions. “When Veeam Backup & Replication hit the market, it was a game changer. We evaluated it against other products, and found that it was more reliable and cost effective, with many more features and benefits. Giorgis and his team had been struggling with their backup solution, and I felt that Veeam could resolve their issues.”
“I originally heard about Veeam Backup & Replication at VMworld – where it received glowing reviews – but had never seen it in action,” Giorgis said. “Once I did, I realized that Veeam would definitely be a better fit for our environment. I downloaded a trial copy and found that it was much easier to manage and offered more capabilities than we currently had. We switched to Veeam and never looked back.”
The Veeam Solution
Members of the IT team at Long Beach Transit find that the capabilities of Veeam Backup & Replication allow them to do more in less time.. “First of all, Veeam is fast, at least 20 times faster than our previous tool, and a VM backup takes only minutes to complete,” Giorgis said. “That kind of speed gives us the flexibility to perform incremental backups of critical databases twice during the day, and incremental or full backups every night.”
One of the things that Giorgis loves about Veeam is the email notification he receives every night. “This is a little thing,” he explained, “but I can’t tell you how much I look forward to that email on my smart phone. Once it comes, I can enjoy the rest of my evening without worrying about whether my VMs are backed up and protected.”
Veeam’s built-in deduplication and compression capabilities reduce backup storage requirements. According to Giorgis, “The reduction in storage space was one of the features that caught me by surprise. I provisioned disk space based on what we used previously, and when I checked two weeks later, I found we were using only about 30 percent of the space.”
Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery lets the IT team run a VM directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup file, eliminating the need to extract the backup and copy it to production storage. “Instant VM Recovery works beautifully,” Giorgis said. ”When one of our database servers was corrupted, I was able to restore it in a matter of minutes. That really made me look good to management!”
Giorgis and his team have found the Virtual Lab capabilities included in Veeam Backup & Replication convenient. “The Virtual Lab works like a dream.” Giorgis said. “We can set up and run a test scenario and not worry about adverse effects on our production environment.”
Replication is also key. “Veeam provides two-in-one backup and replication,” Giorgis noted. “The ability to replicate select VMs to a colocation site for DR is essential to our operations, and is now less complicated to manage. We replicate about two terabytes of data each day, and we can choose which VMs to replicate, an option we didn’t have before. And since replication is included in our license, there are no additional charges.”
Good customer support is one of the cornerstones of Veeam, and Giorgis has been impressed by the knowledge and responsiveness of the technical support staff. “I have not had any huge issues with the software,” Giorgis explained. “However, the fact that support is always there when I call gives me an enormous amount of reassurance.”
Although some legacy applications can never be virtualized, Long Beach Transit is working toward 90 percent virtualization. According to Giorgis, “Because we have Veeam in place, we are confident that we can safely expand our virtual environment to include more applications, and to add Hyper-V servers in the future.”
Fast, easy-to-manage technology decreases storage requirements
Veeam performs a full backup at least 20 times faster than Long Beach Transit’s previous backup tool. Built-in deduplication and compression reduce the amount of backup storage required by as much as 70 percent.
Effortless replication to DR site included at no additional cost
The IT team finds replication much easier with Veeam, and replicates about two terabytes of data each day to a DR colocation site. The team can choose to replicate just one or any number of VMs, an option not available previously. There are no additional software costs since replication is included in the license.
Multi-hypervisor support meets future needs
With Veeam Backup & Replication in place, the IT team knows it is safe to expand the environment and add Hyper-V servers.