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Veeam deploys always-on availability for Al Naboodah Group Enterprises

Veeam deploys always-on availability for Al Naboodah Group Enterprises

Al Naboodah Group Enterprises has deployed the Veeam Availability Suite as a single solution for its backup, replication, recovery and reporting needs.

When the UAE-based Al Naboodah Group Enterprises was looking to improve its backup solution it turned to Veeam. The company deployed the Veeam Availability Suite as a single solution for its backup, replication, recovery and reporting needs. The result was 99.8% virtualisation, achieving sustainability objectives and cutting capital expenses.

The role of IT is considered crucial by the leadership at Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE).

The company has applications that have to be always available to enable collaboration between the 16,000 strong workforce that operate out of 100 plus construction sites and offices across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

ANGE also runs close to 20 specialised construction and commercial applications including AutoCAD, a computer-aided design and drafting application that is used daily by the company’s architects, project managers and engineers.

The United Arab Emirates is deeply committed to meeting the climate change demands of COP21 and, in line with this, the group has set sustainability KPIs for each department. Therefore, as the IT team scaled its operations in-line with business objectives, they were keen to increasingly utilise virtualisation and reduce their carbon footprint.

The organisation’s existing backup solution, however, couldn’t meet the IT department’s three key objectives: virtualisation advanced support; backup verification and rapid recovery.

Mario Foster, Group Chief Information Officer, said: “With our existing solution we were only able to back up our mission-critical applications and data, and that too was outside of working hours. We generate tremendous volumes of data daily, pertaining to designs, project management, supply chain and logistics, and other critical functions. It is important there are no interruptions to this data which could have a negative impact on the group’s productivity.”

With a host of new applications being added to his environment and an inevitable data explosion on the horizon, Foster knew it was time to look for an alternative.

“We were in the market for an ‘availability’ rather than just a backup solution. It had to enable us to meet our sustainability KPIs, safeguard data being constantly generated by the business, and ensure applications were always available to employees who relied on them,” he said.

ANGE evaluated Proof of Concepts (POCs) from multiple vendors.

“While all solutions supported virtualisation, Veeam had the best overall package and by far the most dedicated local support. They boasted an impressive list of references and were consistently recognised as a market leader by independent research firms such as Gartner,” said Foster.

ANGE deployed the Veeam Availability Suite as a single solution for its backup, replication, recovery and reporting needs. In addition, the solution’s deep integration in the IT environment meant it also offered powerful monitoring capabilities, thus proving to be the ‘feature-rich’ solution Foster had hoped for.

“We have achieved 99.8% virtualisation and Veeam offers us in-depth monitoring of 170 virtual machines (VMs) and the very limited physical servers,” said Foster.

The group instantly realised a tremendous increase in performance as backups were now smoothly executed in minutes, reducing RTO by 60%. So, despite ANGE’s data increasing by over 200%, the IT team is now able to back up all applications on a daily basis in real-time. This assured backup and constant availability of apps is fundamental to the group as it utilises more than 20 different specialised construction and commercial applications.

“These apps enable everything from design, collaboration and communication to customer management, logistics and other mission-critical operations, thereby playing an essential role in all the operations of our organisation,” said Foster.

Through utilisation of existing investments, Veeam has reduced the organisation’s need to procure additional storage by 50%, taking advantage of Veeam’s compression and de-duplicate technology, thereby saving roughly $180,000 in capital expenses. This enabled ANGE to achieve ROI on its Veeam deployment in well under two years.

Veeam SureBackup is a standout feature for ANGE, as it has eliminated the need to manually verify backups.

“We are now assured that every backup is always taken correctly and can be used in any event or emergency,” said Foster. “We can thus guarantee up-to-date information is always available when and where it is needed – a vital requirement for an organisation with over 100 offices and sites across such a vast area.”

He was also highly impressed by Veeam’s recovery features.

He said: “Because a lot of the work our employees do requires collaboration and the involvement of contractors, it’s very important that we have reliable backups at every stage of the process in case there is a miscommunication or a need to refer to previous versions. Whereas file recovery could take up to a day, with Veeam, we can resolve these issues in under five minutes. What this means is that employees are not inhibited, but rather empowered by IT.”

Many key applications in ANGE’s environment weren’t designed for high availability, but Veeam addresses this by increasing VM restore speed by over 10 times.

Results of the solution:

Enables 99.8% virtualisation, achieving sustainability objectives and cutting capital expenses

 “Veeam gave us the confidence to carry out the complete virtualisation of our environment. We know our VMs can be instantly recovered, and we have the tools needed to closely monitor our entire virtual environment in real time,” said Foster.

Considerably greater speed and efficiency has meant that ANGE now extends backup to all applications, rather than only mission-critical ones.

“This eliminates business risk and makes us far more resilient to data loss or application failure,” he added.

Improves full VM recovery speed by over 10 times

Veeam has shortened backup windows by over 60%, automated the backup and verification process with SureBackup, and increased the speed of full VM recovery by over 10 times. Foster estimates that his team now saves 1000 man-hours per year thanks to Veeam, resulting in a large amount of annual savings.

Full Return on Investment (ROI) in under two years

Although ANGE has experienced a data explosion in recent years with volumes growing by 50 to 200% in some areas, the organisation has been able to accommodate this with its existing storage investments. This is because Veeam has reduced storage requirements by close to 50%, allowing ANGE to avoid an estimated $180,000 in capital expenses.

“Taking into account such cost savings and the increased productivity of my team, I believe we achieved ROI on this implementation in under two years,” said Foster.