German audio equipment manufacturer Lawo was founded initially as an engineering office focusing on audio and broadcast, and is now a recognised innovator whose digital mixing consoles and R&D actively influence the future of broadcast and media production.
The company operates out of 20 sites with 390 virtual machines. Since Lawo develops equipment in-house, data protection is crucial for the enterprise. A server failure can bring the entire production process to a standstill, resulting in higher costs and delayed deliveries.
Moreover, responsible for 24/7 support to customers, Lawo needs to ensure fail-safety and resilience. Multiple locations are involved, which means all data must be accessible from each site, all the time. Certain data, such as that of the purchasing or the billing department, is critical to the company’s daily operations. Consequently, backup and recovery times are extremely important.
Lawo was looking for a new VM (virtual machine) backup system, as the licenses of their existing system had expired and could no longer meet the company’s speed and security requirements. For example, the previous system was slow, and sometimes took more than all night to complete backups. Also, backup administration involved a steep learning curve for new users. Perhaps more serious, the old system would unexpectedly crash without notice.
“NAKIVO Backup & Replication was one of the nine solutions that we looked at. From our point of view, it not only achieved the best functionality for the best price. It convinced us to switch to a more modern, secure VM backup set-up that is easier to use,” said Henrik Gerstner, Technical Project Manager at Lawo.
Incremental VM Backups
NAKIVO performs fast incremental VM backups with integrated, LAN-free data transfers and network acceleration. The NAKIVO backup software relies on native VMware Changed Block Tracking (CBT) for fast tracking of changed data blocks during backups.
Its application-aware mode makes sure that backup data for different software and databases is transactionally consistent – when backups are consistent with the software used, all application and database data becomes usable immediately. Supported applications and databases include Microsoft apps like Active Directory, Exchange Server and SQL Server, as well as Oracle Database.
Users have many choices, for instance, eliminating a single point of failure by sending VMware backups to cloud storage, other offsite targets and tape. They can create replicas from source VMs or from backups to ensure availability and operational continuity in case of failure. By setting up automated and instant verification, users’ VMware vSphere backups can be verified valid and usable for recovery operations.
“Since the whole installation and configuration process only took a couple of days, a straightforward transition of our entire infrastructure could take place. The product has been installed as a pre-configured virtual appliance with a web user interface that is quick and straightforward to use,” Henrik said.
Minimising Backup Time
“The entire process takes around six hours in total, and we back up every night. VMware changed block tracking is especially useful because it minimises the backup time dramatically. We can set up quick searches, display all the information in a job overview, and refer to a job calendar to help us schedule jobs however we want.”
With the backup copy functionality, Lawo’s team can store various backup copies in their different locations. That way, backups are protected from accidental deletions and even malware. “Instant VM recovery is very useful. It means we can recover entire VMs immediately,” said Henrik. “NAKIVO’s technical support and response times are very fast as well. Help is always available within a very short time compared to our previous provider.”
He also noted that they have been able to integrate the product into workflows within a short time and completely shift their backup strategy, largely because backup management is much easier for all users involved. He estimates that NAKIVO Backup & Replication saves as much as half the time they spent on managing the previous VM backup system, which in turn cuts costs. www.nakivo.com