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Veeam drives transformation at South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation

Veeam drives transformation at South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation

Gert Prinsloo is Infrastructure Manager at Industrial Development Corporation in South Africa.

In 1940, the South African Parliament established the Industrial Development Corporation to advance industrial policy and ease the disruption of trade between Europe and South Africa during the Second World War. Today Industrial Development Corporation essentially drives progress by financing development projects, promoting national and international partnerships across industries, and supporting regional economic growth. Fully owned by the South African government, Industrial Development Corporation employs 850 people.

As a development financier, the Industrial Development Corporation proactively identifies and funds high-impact and labour intensive projects to foster balanced, sustainable economic growth. In 2015, funding reached an all-time high of R14.5 billion, an increase of 26% compared to 2014. These investments created or saved more than 15,000 jobs in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, metal fabrication, clothing and textiles. The Industrial Development Corporation’s priorities are aligned with government policy.

The Industrial Development Corporation’s IT infrastructure was expected to be agile so it can respond quickly to changes in the economy while staying on track for long-term growth. In an effort to maintain this agility, the Industrial Development Corporation set up solutions for backup, replication and monitoring, but also created silos in its administration. Managing the silos became so time-intensive that recovery time and point objectives was 48 hours, which was unacceptable for an Always-On organisation. In an effort to maintain agility, the Industrial Development Corporation set out to build a highly available IT infrastructure.

Gert Prinsloo, Infrastructure Manager at Industrial Development Corporation, explains that the institution implemented various replication solutions in the hope of building a highly available environment for critical applications, operating systems, and storage. They also implemented different monitoring products for server and storage capacity planning. “In the end, what we thought was giving us high availability was fighting against us.”

Some of the pain points included, time required to manage siloed infrastructure, slow backup and recovery, non-existent visibility into relationships between virtual and physical resources. The recovery time and point objectives of 48 hours, was unacceptable for an organisation that was expected to be always-on. When asked by the CEO if the decision-making data is available, Prinsloo could not guarantee continuous availability. “Our siloed approach to high availability was holding us back.”

By bringing in Veeam solutions, Industrial Development Corporation was able to get back on track for its digital transformation strategy. Veeam solutions replaced products previously used for virtual machine backup, replication and monitoring, enabling the removal of silos. The Industrial Development Corporation succeeded in simplifying virtualisation management and saved R5.1 million, $374,000 in product and licensing costs, as well as thousands of hours in troubleshooting time.

Next Veeam helped optimise resources and manage the datacentre spend. Instead of replacing 400TB of old but not obsolete storage, the Industrial Development Corporation repurposed it as backup storage because Veeam is storage-agnostic, saving R12 million, $882,000. Based on Veeam alerts about over-committed and under-committed virtual machines, the Industrial Development Corporation makes the best use of backup resources, and plans for new resources.

As an example, Prinsloo points out, they were able to integrate Veeam backup and replication with the aging production storage on Hewlett Packard Enterprise 3PAR StoreServ. The Veeam solution can now backup, replicate, and recover from HPE 3 PAR StoreServ snapshots reducing the recovery time and point objective to 15 minutes. “That integration enabled us to offload backup from our production environment so the business and users are not inconvenienced.”

Prinsloo gives another example, when one of the virtual machines supporting Industrial Development Corporation’s core SAP business application failed. Various modules inside Veeam Availability Suite including Instant VM Recovery, SureBackup, and SureReplica, were used to verify the integrity of the virtual machine before replication within minutes. In another real-life example, a desktop client was restored using Veeam solution when it was locked due to ransomware. “We had him back online quickly without paying ransom and without losing data.”

Veeam’s sandbox environment called Virtual Lab is also used by team members to test software patches before putting them into production. “Being able to test patches quickly and easily with Veeam helps us protect the business and our users from being impacted,” he points out. “When we are confident a software patch will not affect a production virtual machine, we take a snapshot of the virtual machine first for safety.”

Over a five-year period, Veeam has saved the company R17.1 million, $1.3 million. Veeam has helped guide a datacentre refresh to create a simpler but more advanced and future-ready IT infrastructure. It has brought visibility into the relationships between physical and virtual resources.


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Key takeaways

  • Managing the silos became so time-intensive that recovery time and point objectives was 48 hours
  • What we thought was giving us high availability was fighting against us
  • Pain points included, time required to manage siloed infrastructure, slow backup and recovery, non-existent visibility into relationships between virtual and physical resources
  • Siloed approach to high availability was holding us back
  • Veeam solutions replaced products previously used for virtual machine backup, replication and monitoring, enabling removal of silos
  • Industrial Development Corporation succeeded in simplifying virtualisation management and saved $374,000 in product and licensing costs
  • Veeam helped optimise resources and manage the datacentre spend
  • Able to integrate Veeam backup and replication with the aging production storage on HPE 3PAR StoreServ
  • Veeam solution can now backup, replicate, recover from HPE 3 PAR StoreServ snapshots reducing recovery time point objective to 15 minutes