When Leisureworld Senior Care Corporation embarked on disaster recovery and business continuity planning, one of the first steps the IT team took was to find a fast and reliable backup solution for its virtual machines (VMs). The team had tried backing up the VMs with Symantec Backup Exec but felt it wasn’t fast enough.
“Backup Exec works well on our physical servers, but it wasn’t the ideal backup solution for our virtual servers,” said Daniel Neufeld, Vice President of Information Systems at Leisureworld. “We chose Veeam for two reasons: fast, reliable VM backups and reasonable price. Like most companies, we have a very tight IT budget and Veeam was far more cost-effective than the other solutions we considered.”
The team put the disaster recovery portion of its plan in place with Veeam backups but decided the business continuity portion would have to wait because of cost. “We were looking at $250,000 in storage and software costs plus bandwidth upgrade costs to replicate VMs over the WAN from our main data center to a storage area network (SAN) at our backup data center,” Neufeld explained. “Then we discovered teaming up the Veeam technology with our Riverbed Steelhead appliances would allow us to replicate VMs for a staggeringly low cost.”
The IT team uses Veeam® Backup & Replication™ and Riverbed® Steelhead® appliances from Riverbed Technology to replicate VMs via Leisureworld’s WAN for 85 percent less than the original estimate.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the savings,” Neufeld said. “We already had Steelhead appliances in place to optimize our WAN, and adding Veeam to the mix was the perfect solution for us. I sleep really well at night knowing our data is secure at a secondary site and can be retrieved quickly in case of emergency.”
Leisureworld began using Riverbed® WAN optimization technology in 2009 when it decided to consolidate the IT infrastructure to reduce costs and centralize management. “Riverbed WAN optimization enabled us to begin to consolidate servers at our 26 nursing homes and accelerate key applications like e-mail and file sharing, freeing up network resources for our clinical software, saving us approximately $500,000 annually in network costs and making file transfers at least 10 times faster. Riverbed gives us the performance platform to run an enterpriseclass network cost-effectively,” Neufeld said.
Veeam Backup & Replication provides WAN optimization as well. It filters out unnecessary data blocks and compresses replication traffic. Veeam also offers network-throttling to control the amount of bandwidth that replication jobs consume. In addition, Veeam provides backup proxy servers at the source and target that communicate directly with each other.
As soon as the disaster recovery and business continuity project was completed, Neufeld initiated IT fire drills. “It’s important everyone on the team knows how to recover VMs quickly in case of emergency,” he said. “With Veeam in place, I can tell senior management that everything in the virtual environment is safe and secure. Our CEO and CFO are very pleased we saved so much money by combining Veeam with Riverbed Steelhead and continue to see ROI.”
In 2012, Leisureworld earned the LTC LINK Spirit of Innovation Award for Risk Management. The company was recognized for “providing fast replication and minimal loss of financial and clinical information during an emergency.”
Reduced VM replication costs by 85 percent
By using Veeam Backup & Replication with Riverbed Steelhead appliances, Leisureworld replicates VMs from its main data center to its backup data center via the WAN and avoided $250,000 in storage and software costs plus bandwidth upgrade costs.
Virtual environment is fully protected
The IT team knows Leisureworld’s financial and clinical data is safe because Veeam’s 2-in-1 backup and replication provides near-continuous data protection and enables the best possible recovery time and recovery point objectives.
Fast, frequent backups provide additional restore points
With Veeam, VM backups are 93 percent faster than the previous backup tool, enabling the IT team to back up more frequently. “We’re talking about going to twice-a-day backups to give us more restore points,” Neufeld said. “When my colleagues in the finance department tell us something is wrong with their documents, we could offer two restore points, say at 1 pm and 5 pm. If the call comes in at 5:30, they will be really happy we can offer two restore points.”