Autonomous vehicles promise to change societies around the world forever. For the companies bringing this vision to life, high performance computing is key to tackling the huge engineering challenges involved.
“Zenseact was established with a single mission: develop the software that makes autonomous driving possible, reliable and safe,” said Johan Jansson, Scrum Master and Service Owner at Zenseact. “We are a mix of engineers, software and hardware developers and IT specialists, making technology central to everything we do. If our technology stops working, so do we.”
In the data-intensive environment at Zenseact, employees are continually building new software and services, which must be backed up to avoid losing progress. In the event that IT systems go down, the company aims to bounce back rapidly with minimal recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO), to avoid delays to its product launch targets.
“The autonomous driving sector is growing fast, as we get closer to the point where the technology has matured enough for broad adoption,” said Jansson. “To ensure we stay at the forefront of the sector, we cannot afford delays. Moving fast is central to the Zenseact mission, so we’re always looking for ways to do things more efficiently.”
To streamline development processes and optimize use of resources, Zenseact is moving to a containerized approach. In parallel, the company’s IT team aimed to augment its backup capabilities to ensure that its evolving environment was fully protected.
“Containerization enables us to reduce our overheads compared to straightforward virtualization,” said Jansson. “It allows us to dynamically allocate resources and scale horizontally to cope with unpredictable workload. As we embarked on our containerization journey, we wanted to ensure that we could also back up this new part of our environment easily and reliably, fully integrated with our other existing workloads.”
For four years, Zenseact has relied on Veeam® Availability Suite™ as its backup, recovery and monitoring solution. The company is currently protecting approximately 400 mission-critical virtual machines (VMs) using Veeam technology. For faster backups with minimal impact on system performance and maximum business continuity, Zenseact parallelizes and distributes its data protection workload using Veeam backup proxies.
“Veeam has long been our backup and replication technology of choice – it has proved itself again and again,” said Jansson. “We selected Veeam Availability Suite for its rich feature set, flexibility and scalability. The solution aligns with our agile mindset and best practices. For example, the Instant VM Recovery feature helps us to save time when we need to restore data and services quickly. Veeam enables us to move fast to deliver new capabilities to our customers – because we know we can always roll our systems back quickly and easily.”
To find the best data protection solution for containerized workloads, Zenseact evaluated five different offerings. Ultimately, the company selected Kasten K10, which is purpose-built for Kubernetes.
“Our goal is to provide both freedom and safety to our developers, so they may perform to their full potential while keeping risk low,” said Jansson. “Kasten K10 was the most capable of meeting these objectives. It’s the most stable, simple to use and reliable to work with of available offerings in the market today. It includes many features out of the box that we would have had to build ourselves if we’d have chosen another option.”
The Zenseact team hit the ground running with Kasten K10, quickly becoming familiar with the interface and setting up backup policies for containers. Today, the company’s 500 developers can automatically include backups when they set up a new project and easily making changes at a later date.
“By combining Kasten K10 with Red Hat Ansible Tower, we’re providing selfservice features for backups,” said Jansson. “Now, when a developer creates a project, they select from a list of backup policies that are then automatically applied. In this way, we’re giving our developers flexibility while keeping management simple. We can also restore data very quickly, which is another capability that we’re planning to roll out as a self-service function soon.”
Zenseact is gradually moving workloads from VMs to containers, using Veeam technology to ensure that data is protected end-to-end across its IT environment. Using Veeam Availability Suite, the team can optimize configurations to accelerate backup throughput. To maximize backup performance, Zenseact closely integrated Veeam Backup & Replication with its Dell EMC Data Domain storage systems, taking advantage of Data Domain Boost technology and streamlined deduplication features.
“Kasten becoming part of Veeam is a great advantage for us,” said Jansson. “We’re assured of the long-term roadmap for the solutions, and we’ve built a collaborative relationship with the Veeam and Kasten team. As we work towards our ambition of safe, accessible self-driving cars, we’re using Veeam and Kasten technology to ensure our developers always have the data they need for innovation.”
Zenseact exists to make safe and intelligent mobility a reality for everyone, everywhere. It does this by creating innovative automotive software, with the ultimate goal of developing self-driving solutions that enable end-customers to feel so safe and relaxed that they reach a ‘zen’ state of mind. Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, Zenseact also has an office in Shanghai, China, with an international team of employees from 55 countries.
Zenseact is at the forefront of the market for autonomous vehicle software. To retain its position at the leading edge, the company maintains a rapid pace of innovation, driven by data-intensive IT. To reduce the risk of interruptions and delays to operations, Zenseact must be able to recover data quickly and effectively in the event of a disaster, making backup processes crucial for the company. As Zenseact began to adopt containerization to further accelerate development, it also aimed to update its backup capabilities to better protect the new environments.