The Business Challenge
While guests enjoy downtime on Viking Line cruises, the IT staff focuses on uptime. Several critical systems must be available 24x7x365 such as point-of-sale, reservations, email and the website.
Availability became an issue when the legacy backup tool produced one failed backup after another. Another problem was backup and recovery speed. The legacy tool required agents in each virtual machine (VM) to be backed up and recovered, which slowed down both processes. Slow backup prevented Viking Line from backing up all VMs within its backup window, so the IT staff had to alternate VMs for backup, resulting in few recovery points. The IT staff struggled to meet recovery time and point objectives (RTPO).
The legacy backup tool also failed to communicate with the management layer of VMware vSphere, leading to VMware snapshots being left behind after the backup job completed. The IT staff certainly didn’t want a VMware snapshot file to grow so large that it filled a logical unit number (LUN).
Viking Line contacted ITaito, an IT infrastructure and service provider, for help. Niklas Boström, owner of ITaito, said he knew exactly what availability solution to recommend to Viking Line—Veeam Backup & Replication.
“Viking Line had three requirements,” Boström said. “Reliability, efficiency and native tape support. Veeam meets each of those needs and offers so much more.”
The Veeam Solution
Veeam Backup and Replication provides Viking Line with the uptime and availability required by a 24x7x365 business. With Veeam, Viking Line meets RTPO through fast recovery time and frequent backup that provides multiple recovery points.
One of the IT staff’s favorite Veeam features is Instant VM Recovery because it lets backup engineers restart a failed VM from a regular backup in minutes. Instant VM Recovery saved the day for Viking Line when a backup engineer discovered corrupt files on a Linux VM. He restored the VM in fewer than 10 minutes.
“This was one of the VMs that didn’t get backed up weekly with the legacy tool because it wasn’t as critical as other VMs,” said Anders Johansson, Manager of Server and Internal Systems at Viking Line. “If we had tried to recover the VM with the legacy tool—prior to Veeam—recovery would have been a very long process, and we would have had few recovery points to choose from. We’re fortunate this situation happened after Veeam had been deployed. Backup is faster with Veeam, so we back up more VMs more often, giving us more recovery points.”
Viking Line also uses Veeam to migrate VMs among production storage in case vMotion isn´t available, such as when new hardware is being installed on a ship.
Before Veeam, migrating VMs resulted in hours of downtime. Now downtime is only as long as one or two reboots.
“We just right-click a running VM and choose ‘Quick Migration’—it’s that easy,” Johansson said. “That’s another thing we like about Veeam. Even if you’re not a backup expert, Veeam is so easy to learn and use.”
Another recovery feature that Viking Line uses is Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange. It provides instant visibility into Exchange backups so the IT staff can quickly recover individual items such as emails.
“Every time you restore a lost object with Veeam it saves your day,” Johansson said.
Viking Line relies on one more Veeam feature. Native tape support lets the IT staff copy Windows files and VM backups to tape automatically, making long-term retention easy.
In the future, IT staff members plan to use two additional Veeam features. With SureBackup, they can verify the recoverability of backups in an isolated environment called a Virtual Lab. With On-Demand Sandbox, they can test software updates in the Virtual Lab, troubleshoot issues and train colleagues with no impact on production.
Fast, dependable backup enables more VMs to be backed up more often
Before Veeam Backup & Replication was deployed at Viking Line, backup was slow and prone to failure. Backup with Veeam is so fast that more VMs are backed up more often, which produces multiple recovery points. Backup with Veeam is so dependable that the IT staff no longer spends 15 to 30 minutes each day troubleshooting failed backups, saving more than 60 hours each year.
Reliable recovery features restore whole VM, files and items
Using Instant VM Recovery, Viking Line restores a VM in minutes by starting the VM from a compressed and deduplicated backup file. Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange provides fast granular recovery. Both features minimise disruption to users and downtime in production.
Copying backups to tape supports long-term retention policy
When Viking Line compared Veeam Backup & Replication to two other backup tools, two things were clear: Veeam was easier to use and was the only availability solution to offer native tape support. Veeam helps the IT staff meet compliance requirements and archiving policies.