The RAM Group of Companies, which includes RAM Hand to Hand Couriers, has cut the time needed to back up the IT systems supporting its always-on business by 95% using Veeam software.
“Our IT platform is a critical part of our business,” says group IT manager Lance Soller. “We have 41 distribution hubs around South Africa and a fleet of over 1,000 vehicles, which we track in real time 24/7, along with the packages they carry. Losing our systems, even for a short period, would grievously hinder our ability to operate.”
“The always-on business can’t afford downtime,” notes Warren Olivier, Veeam’s regional manager for Africa. “A recent Vanson Bourne global survey estimated the average cost of an hour of downtime for enterprises at $324,793, or nearly R4m; and as more businesses need constant availability, that cost will only increase. Recovery time and point objectives of less than 15 minutes for all workloads and applications is becoming the standard.”
Soller says RAM began virtualising its IT infrastructure in 2008 to make the most of its hardware investment, and now runs 160 virtual machines (VMs) in five data centres.
However, he says, “our legacy backup tool, while brilliant for the original physical environment, was not designed with virtualisation in mind”. Backup and recovery was slow and complex, with each VM taking up to three hours to back up.
Soller and his team turned to Veeam Backup Management Suite, with dramatic results. Backup time fell by 95%, from two to three hours per VM to just five to 15 minutes. Recovery speed dropped from ten to two minutes, enabling the IT team to guarantee near-constant availability. Automated backup testing provides extra confidence.
RAM is also now using its storage more efficiently: “Veeam’s built-in deduplication and compression capabilities mean we are now using 25-35% less storage,” says Soller.
Soller says the advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning capabilities of Veeam’s solution have also been valuable. “Quite simply, we wouldn’t know what the virtual environment was doing without Veeam. As a result we can plan our IT resourcing much better, using defined metrics rather than relying on a ‘feel’ for what’s happening. We use Veeam constantly to ensure we are running our server resources in the best possible way and provisioning extra resources where needed.
“With Veeam we have complete confidence that our virtual infrastructure is protected from disaster, giving us maximum availability of our IT services— from fast and reliable backup and recovery, to peace of mind that both backups and any updates have been fully tested, to the knowledge that we can spot and address any problems before they happen.”