In Argentina, Carrefour’s distribution centers operate all year round to keep the country’s 600-plus stores well-stocked with high-quality food. At the same time, customer-facing systems in-store and online help deliver the superior shopping experience for which Carrefour is well known. All these sophisticated processes rely on round-the-clock access to data to function successfully. When Carrefour Argentina initiated a Digital Transformation program involving the centralization of IT, the company looked for a single data backup and replication solution that could support 100% data availability.
Quality, service and availability are the attributes that Carrefour prioritizes in each of its branches internationally. This ethos has led the group to become the eighth largest retailer in the world. In Argentina, Carrefour has more than 600 stores, and operates its own distribution centers all day every day to maintain the high standards of the brand.
“We want our customers to have an excellent shopping experience whenever they visit our stores,” said Gustavo Actis, Head of Platforms, Databases, Infrastructure and Cloud Computing at Carrefour Argentina. “So, our distribution centers never stop; they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And to support the complex logistics involved, they rely on constant access to data. In the same way, we guarantee this smooth experience to visitors to our e-commerce sites. So, we need to ensure the underlying IT systems are always available and up to date.”
When Carrefour Argentina initiated a Digital Transformation program, it saw an opportunity to improve its approach to data protection. With the company centralizing and streamlining its IT infrastructure and supporting tools, it decided to adopt a solution to manage the backup and restore of data for its virtualized infrastructure.
“We are users of data backup tools such as IBM Spectrum to protect our IBM Power Systems infrastructure,” said Actis. “However, we decided during an end-to-end review of our IT environment that it was time to analyze the data protection market and find out if there was a better option out there for VMware environments. Since we were moving to a fully virtualized landscape and taking our first steps into the cloud, we looked for a tool that could help us on that journey.”
The Veeam solution
Carrefour Argentina chose Veeam to enable data availability for its stores and distribution centers, helping the retailer continue to provide superb customer experiences.
“The first thing that attracted us to Veeam was the many positive references,” said Carlos Díaz, Administrator, Platform Infrastructure at Carrefour Argentina. “In addition, Veeam integrates seamlessly with many other technologies, which is ideal since our environment spans IBM AIX, Windows, Linux and VMware, hosted on-premises and in the Google Cloud. Veeam compares favorably with IBM Spectrum because of the agentless backup feature, making it perfect for virtualized environments like ours with many VMs. Finally, the ease of restoring data with Veeam was a huge selling point.”
As part of the selection process, Carrefour Argentina opted to conduct a proof-of-concept (PoC) exercise to test out the Veeam capabilities. These capabilities were put to the test when the company lost a mission-critical server during the PoC.
“Coincidentally, one of our most essential Active Directory servers failed while we were running the Veeam PoC,” said Gabriel Dettano, Platform Infrastructure Manager at Carrefour Argentina. “We made the decision to restore the server with the test backup system, which together with the snapshots we’d taken using Veeam brought the server back online in less than an hour. It’s no exaggeration to say that Veeam saved the day and demonstrated just how valuable Veeam would be to our business.”
Carrefour Argentina now backs up 100% of the data for its virtualized systems using Veeam. The company performs incremental backups every day, a full backup weekly and at weekends, plus a few additional backups of specific workloads every six months. Through Veeam, Carrefour Argentina has a central point of control and visibility of all its backup policies and how they are being applied.
“Even though we’re backing up more data with Veeam, we’ve cut our backup windows from hours to just minutes in many cases,” said Actis. “In addition, with IT Monitoring and Analytics by Veeam we have now got unprecedented insight into our infrastructure. It helps us spot opportunities to improve our infrastructure planning. We can also take more risks with development, since we’re confident we can always roll back our environment using Veeam snapshots.”
Veeam is adding another layer of protection to Carrefour Argentina’s cyber-resilience strategy, helping the company to ensure it can recover quickly from an attack.
Supports outstanding shopper experiences by enabling 100% end-to-end protection of Carrefour Argentina’s data.
“Thanks to Veeam we can now confidently say that all our data is backed up and we have a 100% backup success rate,” said Actis. “We want every customer who visits Carrefour in Argentina to leave with a smile on their face – and protecting our data with Veeam is helping us to achieve that goal.”
Cut backup windows from hours to just 30 minutes, reducing the risk of disruption to distribution or sales processes.
By limiting backup windows and accelerating data restore times, Carrefour Argentina enables exceptional service continuity.
Transforms the efficiency of backup operations through a central point of control, freeing up time for innovation.
“We used to have a whole squad of people responsible for backups,” said Actis. “Veeam gives us much more comprehensive data protection capabilities that can be managed through a single console. We save resources that can be focused on guiding Carrefour Argentina through the next phase of our Digital Transformation.”
We exclusively asked Gustavo Actis, Head of Platforms, Databases, Infrastructure and Cloud, at Carrefour Argentina, further questions to find out more about the project.
Could you elaborate on the specific challenges that operating distribution centers 24/7/365 poses to Carrefour Argentina’s IT infrastructure, particularly in terms of data access and backup?
Quality, service and accessibility are fundamental attributes that Carrefour prioritizes in each of our stores and distribution centers to maintain the high standards that our brand offers.
Currently, Veeam is the preferred solution used for the backup and recovery of all the information on our servers, whether they are virtual servers in our data centers or physical servers in our stores and/or distribution centers. It is here, in the latter, where the access and availability of information becomes essential for our distribution centers that operate without interruptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year so that they can supply the more than 640 stores we have nationwide.
To guarantee the day-to-day running of our operations, it is necessary to have a robust yet flexible solution where our administrators can quickly and easily access key information in the event of any incident, because if we experience unplanned downtime we run the risk of generating stock-outs in our stores, with a direct impact on our customers. Since we implemented Veeam, we have drastically reduced the amount of time our IT team spends on backup and recovery maintenance, helping them to focus on innovation, optimization and automation of other IT processes.
On the other hand, our internal users are very happy with Veeam and are pleased that we can backup and restore their data much faster, giving them peace of mind that their critical data is always safe.
What were some of the key drivers for initiating a Digital Transformation program at Carrefour Argentina to improve data protection, and how has this influenced your data management strategies?
When Carrefour Argentina decided to embark on a Digital Transformation program, we saw an opportunity to improve its approach to data protection. With the company centralizing and rationalizing its IT infrastructure and support tools, we as a company decided to adopt a solution to manage the backup and restore of data from its infrastructure.
The consolidation and centralization of physical servers, the digitalization of servers and the development of new technologies including the incorporation of the different clouds to our infrastructure, made it necessary to review the backup and recovery tools used in the company and compare with the existing ones in the market and see which was the best solution to implement in the different environments of our infrastructure.
This is how we decided to use IBM Spectrum Protect for our IBM Power infrastructure, for the backup and recovery of AIX Servers, Oracle and Informix Databases, and a new solution for our physical and virtual servers of our data centers, stores and distribution centers, since we were moving to a completely virtualized environment and we were also taking our first steps into the cloud, so we looked for a tool that could help us on that journey, and Veeam was the chosen solution.
Can you discuss the decision-making process that led to choosing Veeam for backup and data restore needs? What criteria were used to evaluate the various solutions?
The criteria used for the choice was to have a solution that was first of all a market leader, then that could provide us with much more complete data protection capabilities compared to other solutions that existed in the market, and finally that could be managed through a single console and that its administration is simple and intuitive, allowing us to save IT resources so that the team of specialists can focus on taking Carrefour Argentina to another stage in the path of our Digital Transformation.
During the proof-of-concept phase with Veeam, a server failure was effectively resolved. How did this incident impact confidence in the solution, and did it lead to any changes in backup and recovery plans?
While we were performing the Veeam test, our Active Directory Servers failed and made it necessary to perform a total restore of our Domain Controllers. Although we had the possibility of performing the restore with the solution we had at that time, it was decided to perform the recovery with the solution we were testing, there is never better proof than in a real incident. Together with the snapshots we had taken with Veeam, the equipment was back online in less than an hour. So when I tell this story, I tell everyone that it is NOT an exaggeration to say that Veeam saved the day, with administrators breathing again, showing us how valuable Veeam was to our business.
Carrefour Argentina currently backs up 100% of its data using Veeam for its virtualized on-premise and cloud environments. The flexibility of the solution allows for increasing backups every day, full backups on a weekly basis, plus some additional backups of specific workloads every six months.
We can say that through Veeam, Carrefour Argentina has a focal point of control and visibility of all its backup policies and how they are being applied.
Veeam’s IT Monitoring and Analytics were mentioned as providing unprecedented insight into infrastructure. Can you provide examples of how this insight has been utilized?
As we experience an explosion in the generation of information and data, which has grown exponentially in recent times, it makes managing and knowing what is happening in the different environments, whether on-premise, hybrid clouds or private clouds, a challenge for even the most experienced IT administrator.
That is why having information and reports, as well as tracking what is happening in the infrastructure is crucial. Veeam ONE is what allows us to work proactively, with real-time monitoring, simple and easy to understand reports and automate recovery tasks making the day-to-day life of IT administrators much more proactive.
Could you elaborate on how Veeam integrates with the overall cybersecurity framework to help the company recover quickly from a cyberattack?
The Veeam solution integrates seamlessly with the other security solutions implemented in Carrefour globally, such as Crowdstrike, which allows us to have total control of what happens in our infrastructure, allowing us to minimize risks and reduce recovery windows in the event of unforeseen downtime incidents.Click below to share this article