Leading Insurance Provider Solves Data Protection Problems With Disk, Tape, And VM Protection Software

As leading French insurance provider SMACL grew, its data needs and use of virtualization increased, outstripping the capability of its legacy backup software and hardware. The insurance provider needed a new solution to protect critical insurance policy records and back-office applications, including accounting, email, and HR documents.

The IT team consulted with leading integrator Scasicomp to find a solution that would meet the needs of its changing environment. The new solution needed to improve backup and restore, especially for VMs, provide simpler disaster recovery (DR) protection, and keep ownership costs low.

Choosing a Flexible, Future-proof Solution

The team reviewed backup software, deduplication, replication, and VM protection from a wide range of vendors, and tested products using their own data. Ultimately, the team chose Quantum because it offered a unique combination of deduplication appliances, automated replication, tape libraries, and VMware protection software. It also provided the best price-performance ratio, and created an easy transition path to the new solution.

Increased Disk Storage and Faster Access to Backup Files

The new system uses two DXi appliances as primary backup hardware—one in the main data center and a second in an off-site location—and a Quantum Scalar tape library. For most data, SMACL’s primary backup software, now Symantec NetBackup, writes data to the first DXi for short-term protection which, in turn, replicates the data automatically to the second unit for DR write protection.

The DXi’s variable-length deduplication increases the amount of data that can be stored on disk and reduces the bandwidth needed to replicate data to the second site. Most restores are faster because they are accessed from the local DXi disk, and the automated DR protection process does not require any administrative intervention. Servers that need longer-term retention send data to a Quantum Scalar tape library.

The new system leverages the synergy between the Quantum and Symantec OpenStorage (OST) API to automate management. NetBackup uses OST to manage replication and tape creation functions, sending data directly between appliances and libraries to minimize network traffic while automatically keeping NetBackup catalogs updated.

vmPRO Solves VM Backup and Restore Problems

The new solution uses Quantum vmPRO software to provide complete data protection for the rapidly increasing volume of VMware virtual servers. Quantum vmPRO automatically creates copies of all VMs on the system’s DXi appliances, leveraging replication for DR protection. Although vmPRO makes VM backups faster, it provides even more benefits during restore. Because vmPRO writes backup copies in native VMware format that is fully compatible with VMware management tools, the IT team can simply drag and drop the files to a production disk or even boot them up directly on the backup target for fast, direct recovery of entire VMs and their files.

“Since vmPRO backs up VMs in their native VMDK format, disaster recovery is greatly simplified," explains Benoît Fix, Scasicomp sales engineer. "Recovery of complete VMs on local or remote devices is instantaneous and easy enough that it can be delegated to the project teams.”