The Business Challenge
Brighton Grammar School was an early adopter of virtualisation. Two fully virtualised data centres support four campuses and provide stakeholders with access to key applications. These applications include the school’s learning management system, which provides students, parents and teachers with access to assignments and grades, and the school’s management system, which contains data used by teachers and professional staff, including attendance rolls and contact details for students.
Like many organisations, Brighton tried to back up its VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) with the legacy tool it used to back up and recover its physical machines. However, VM backup failed often with the legacy tool. If backup didn’t fail, it was excruciatingly slow, taking 24 hours to complete and providing only one VM recovery point per day. One reason for the legacy tool’s slow backup speed was because it required agents in each VM to be backed up.
Recovering a VM with the legacy backup tool was slow too, taking hours because each VM had to be rebuilt before restoring it. With unreliable backup and slow recovery, it was hard for Brighton to meet recovery point and recovery time objectives (RPOs and RTOs).
The Veeam Solution
Brighton replaced its legacy backup tool with Veeam® Backup & Replication™, and the benefits were immediate. Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup, recovery and replication for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
The first benefit was speed because Veeam delivers super-fast VM backup and recovery. Brighton’s daily backup window decreased by 66% (from 24 hours to eight hours), and recovery time decreased from hours to minutes, making it easy to meet RPOs and RTOs. Brighton relies on Veeam for fast recovery of entire VMs, OS files and individual items in Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory.
The second benefit was reliability. With Veeam, backup is reliable and recovery is verifiable. Brighton knows backups will complete successfully and are fully recoverable.
“Veeam sends us an email each morning that assures us our VMs were backed up successfully overnight, and then we get on with our day,” said David Humphreys, Director of ICT at Brighton Grammar School. “Veeam also verifies the recoverability of every backup, so we know our data is fully recoverable. We didn’t have that level of confidence with the legacy backup tool.”
Veeam automatically tests the recoverability of each backup (or replica) in an isolated environment called Virtual Lab. Veeam performs tests against the VM backup (or replica) and reports its state and condition. Brighton uses Virtual Lab for another purpose as well: to test software updates on VMs before putting the updates into production.
The third benefit with Veeam was savings. Brighton saves thousands of dollars each year in agent licensing fees because Veeam doesn’t require agents in each VM to be backed up.
When Brighton replaced it production storage with HP StoreVirtual Storage and used Veeam to back up and recover VMs from storage snapshots, meeting RPOs and RTOs became even easier. The daily backup window decreased again—this time by more than 20% because Veeam uses VMware changed block tracking (CBT) to reduce backup time for incremental backups. Brighton can back up its VMs from HP StoreVirtual snapshots as often as every 30 minutes to gain multiple recovery points. Production VMs are not impacted during backup because Veeam keeps a VM snapshot for only a brief moment. Veeam also restores VM data directly from snapshots in minutes, eliminating the need to mount snapshots for recovery and the human error that occurs during mounting and recovery.
“We’d recommend Veeam in any storage environment, but using Veeam with HP StoreVirtual makes backup and recovery more efficient,” Humphreys said. “It’s easy to configure Veeam and HP, and we save even more time backing up and recovering VMs from storage snapshots.”
Veeam Backup & Replication helps Brighton increase efficiency in two more ways. Native tape support makes copies of backups for offsite storage, and Veeam’s Built-in WAN Acceleration reduces the bandwidth required for data transfer across the WAN.
Delivers fast backup, automatic recovery verification and worry-free restore
Brighton Grammar School replaced its legacy backup tool with Veeam Backup & Replication because VM backup failed often with the legacy tool. If backup didn’t fail, Brighton didn’t know if the backup was recoverable. If the backup was recoverable, restoring items took hours when it should have taken minutes.
Today Brighton uses Veeam to back up VMs from StoreVirtual snapshots at each data center and to back up VMs from each data centre to its DR site. Brighton also uses Veeam to replicate VMs from StoreVirtual snapshots to its DR site.
“With Veeam, backup is fast, recovery verification is automatic and restoring items is worry-free,” Humphreys said. “It’s hard to count the times Veeam has saved the day for us. We’ve never been in a situation where we couldn’t restore a whole VM or perform granular recovery with Veeam. We went from having no confidence in backup and recovery with our legacy tool to complete confidence with Veeam.”
Reduces operating costs through cost-effective, agentless backup and recovery
Veeam delivers agentless and storage-agnostic backup and recovery at an affordable price. Veeam is licenced per CPU socket and includes no per-application, per-VM or per-host fees. By removing the legacy backup tool from its vSphere environment, Brighton saves thousands of dollars each year in agent licensing fees.
Makes it even easier to meet RPOs and RTOs with backup and recovery from storage snapshots
Veeam Software and HP have co-certified their best-of-breed solutions so customers like Brighton can deploy them with ease and confidence. Veeam creates fast, frequent backups from HP StoreVirtual snapshots and quickly restores data directly from snapshots, making it even easier for Brighton to meet RPOs and RTOs.