YTL PowerSeraya provides critical national infrastructure for Singapore, supporting around 17.15% of the country’s energy needs. The company’s power generation business is located on Jurong Island — Singapore’s oil, gas and petrochemicals hub — and can generate up to 3,100MW of electrical power each year.
“Keeping our power-generating assets running smoothly around the clock is our top priority,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua, Head of Technology Group, YTL PowerSeraya Pte. Limited. “As a result, we have built a highly available operational technology (OT) platform to control our power generation assets. However, the OT systems aren’t the only critical component in our technology environment. To support the day-to-day running of the business, it’s also vital to ensure our IT systems are online around the clock.”
YTL PowerSeraya relies on several IT systems to drive back-office operations and customer-facing services. These include file servers, databases and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, as well as energy-trading platforms and online customer service channels.
“If our IT systems went oftine unexpectedly, we’d feel the impact immediately,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua. “For example, customers would be unable to manage their accounts online, and employees in key functions such as Finance and Human Capital would be unable to carry out their roles. Prolonged downtime could expose the business to significant financial and reputational risks, so we take data protection very seriously.”
In the past, the organization used legacy traditional backup appliances to write its IT data to tape at the end of each working day, which was then stored off-site. However, creating tape backups was a time-consuming process. Jobs often overran into production hours, causing disruption for business users. Restoring from tape was also lengthy and labour-intensive, limiting the company’s ability to restore data quickly.
“More and more, we’re seeing well-financed and well-equipped cyber-attackers targeting critical national infrastructure,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua. “If we were hit with a ransomware attack, we calculated that it would take us up to two hours to bring the tape back on-site, and then up to four hours to restore our systems. We aimed to cut our response times, delivering greater protection for the business.”
To meet its disaster recovery objectives, YTL PowerSeraya selected a modern data-protection solution: Veeam® Availability Suite™. With Veeam Backup & Replication™, the company gains bulletproof ransomware protection through immutable backups, while Veeam ONE™ offers deep, intelligent monitoring, reporting and automation capabilities.
“Veeam stood out from the other vendors we considered in a number of key areas,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua. “Veeam is highly compatible with VMware, and we were very impressed with Veeam data replication capabilities. We also used Veeam before on a very small scale to protect one of our development environments, so we knew that the solution is easy to work with. Our operations team had already built-up considerable knowledge around Veeam, so we were confident that we could make a smooth transition to the new solution.”
Working with Veeam and a Veeam business partner, YTL PowerSeraya designed the architecture for its new data protection solution. The new environment exceeds the 3-2-1-1-0 rule, with three copies of data at the company’s on-premises data center and one at a secondary site, and additional backups to the Microsoft Azure cloud.
“Working with Veeam and our Veeam technology partner on the implementation was a good experience,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua. “Veeam went out of their way to answer our questions during the solution design phase, which helped us to create an environment that met the requirements of our business. Whenever we had questions or encountered technical issues, we always got the help we needed quickly.”
By moving from tape-based backups to hybrid-cloud data protection from Veeam, YTL PowerSeraya is driving dramatic improvements to its disaster recovery capabilities. The company now performs daily incremental backups, eliminating the risk of jobs overrunning into production hours. YTL PowerSeraya has also cut its recovery time objective (RTO) for a typical 300GB tier-1 server from six hours to two hours — a 67% reduction that helps minimize the risk of prolonged downtime for key internal- and customer-facing systems.
"We have decommissioned all our old tape libraries, and our data protection process is now far faster and more efficient,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua. “Using Veeam, we can recover individual files or even entire VMs within minutes. Crucially, Veeam creates immutable copies of data that cannot be changed after they are created. With the ransomware threat growing all the time, the capabilities we’ve gained give us great peace of mind.”
YTL PowerSeraya is now exploring new ways it can harness Veeam to enhance its approach to data protection. For example, the organization is considering Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure to back up VMs running in the cloud — bringing all its IT backup jobs into a single environment.
“As a provider of critical national infrastructure for Singapore, it’s vital that we have the tools to fight back against a new generation of cyber threats, including ransomware,” said Ms. Fu Xiao Hua. “Veeam solutions help us guarantee that key digital services will always be available when our customers need them.”