The Business Challenge
Brødrene A & O Johansen A/S relies on its IT infrastructure to support every facet of its business. The infrastructure is almost fully virtualized and primarily Microsoft Windows-based but includes several Linux virtual machines (VMs). “If IT failed, our company could lose up to €50,000 per hour,” said Rune Keller, Systems Operations Manager for Brødrene A & O Johansen A/S. “Downtime must be minimal, so fast VM recovery is critical.”
When the company’s backup tool failed to deliver fast VM backup and recovery, Keller and his colleague Reza Eram, Network Administrator for Brødrene A & O Johansen A/S, looked for a new solution. “Our existing tool did a great job backing up our 15 physical servers, but it didn’t work as well on our 150 virtual servers,” Eram said. “For example, it took us one week to fully recover a virtualized Exchange Server, and employees couldn’t access email for nearly two days. That kind of downtime is not acceptable. We knew we needed a virtualization backup solution with fast VM restore and single-item restore. We also wanted a solution that was easy to use. The two of us handle backup, but it’s important that our colleagues are able to perform restores if we are away from the office.”
The Veeam Solution
The IT team chose Veeam® Backup & Replication™ to protect its VMware vSphere environment. Veeam combines backup and replication in a single solution and provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
“The overall speed we get with Veeam is amazing,” Keller said. “VM backup speed increased by more than 50 percent, so now we can back up every VM every day. Prior to Veeam, we ran backups every second or third day. VM recovery speed is even more amazing. Before Veeam, it took half a day, on average, to restore a VM. It takes less than five minutes with Veeam. And, single-item restore is 10 times faster with Veeam because we don’t have to search through tapes.”
“Fast VM restore is definitely one of the most important features for us,” agreed Eram. “For example, when the virtualized Exchange server went down a second time, Veeam was in place. This time we didn’t have to spend a week restoring the server like we did with our previous backup tool. With Veeam, the restore process takes approximately five to 15 minutes. Another time we ran full on a disk pool on our SAN, and all our servers in that pool were lost. With Veeam, we were able to recover the most critical servers within an hour. Without Veeam, I don’t know how long it would have taken — probably the rest of that day and into the night. Those incidents alone justified our decision to deploy Veeam.”
Instant VM Recovery is the Veeam capability that the IT team uses to avert downtime. Driven by vPower® technology, it lets the team run a VM directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup file on regular backup storage. “vPower offers great functionality, so why not use it?” Keller said.
The IT team relies on three more Veeam capabilities: SureBackup®, On-Demand Sandbox and Instant File-Level Recovery.
SureBackup automatically verifies the recoverability of every VM backup every time. “Backup is all about safety, and SureBackup assures us we are safe,” Eram said. “Veeam makes it so easy to verify that a backup is recoverable.”
On-Demand Sandbox lets the IT team create VMs for training and testing purposes. “Being able to test software patches in a test Exchange environment is really helpful,” Keller said. “If the patch works, we put it on the production server. There’s no more ‘push and pray.’”
Veeam’s Instant File-Level Recovery lets the team recover a file from any guest operating and file system directly from a VM backup. “When one of our colleagues deleted her Exchange contact list, she was very relieved we could restore it quickly. It was so easy to retrieve it from the Veeam backup,” Eram said.
While the IT team thinks Veeam’s capabilities are vital for overall business continuity, it also thinks Veeam’s backup reports are indispensable for day-to-day IT operations. “The first thing we do each morning is run through the reports to get an overview of our backup jobs, which really helps us stay proactive,” Eram concluded.
Fast and easy VM restore saves days of downtime
The Instant VM Recovery capability in Veeam Backup & Replication lets the IT team at Brødrene A & O Johansen A/S restore VMs in minutes. Before Veeam was implemented, recovering a virtualized Exchange server took one week. Restoring that same server with Veeam takes five to 15 minutes. “Anyone on the IT team can back up and restore VMs with Veeam because it’s so easy to use,” Keller said.
Individual file-level recovery takes minutes
Veeam’s Instant-File Level Recovery enables the IT team to restore a file for any guest operating and file system from a VM backup. “If there is a single file missing, like our colleague’s Exchange contact list, we want to be able to restore that file fast,” Eram said. “Veeam makes single-item restore quick and easy, which makes our users very happy.”
Testing VM backups and software patches eliminates uncertainty
Two capabilities in Veeam Backup & Replication eliminate uncertainty for the IT team: SureBackup and On-Demand Sandbox. With SureBackup, the team can test backups to ensure they can be recovered in the event of a problem. “IT is the backbone of our company, so if someone on our sales team needs data, we need to know we can recover it as soon as possible,” Keller said. With On-Demand Sandbox, the team can create test VMs from any point in time to troubleshoot problems or test workarounds, software patches and new application code. “No more ‘push and pray’ for us,” he concluded.