||Never knowing when—or even if—a data restoration would be successful meant that IT always had concerns about being able to serve user requests. Now that DPM has assured that our data recovery process is solid, it’s easy for us to quickly restore data whenever we receive a request.
PHead of Storage Systems & Backups
Austrian Ministry of the Interior
Bundesministerium für Inneres, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, oversees all public security activities throughout Austria. Its divisions include central management, and the offices of the Federal Police. These organizations are involved in a wide range of law enforcement activities, ranging from misdemeanors and traffic offenses to border security, drug trafficking, and issues associated with domestic and international terrorism.
The Ministry as a whole employs 32,000 staff members across the country, with an in-house IT organization that numbers over 200. The IT department manages more than 17,000 desktops spread over 1,700 locations, serving internal employees, central administration, individual police offices, and border security forces.
Because the Ministry is solely responsible for the local security of the entire country, it is critical for the agency to fully protect its most sensitive data from loss or damage. For three years, the Ministry had been using a software backup and recovery solution that did not adequately meet its needs—and was in fact putting its data at risk. The lengthy data recovery processes often failed entirely before completion. The deficient performance of the product pushed the Ministry’s IT resources to their limits, and its cost and lack of adequate support only worsened the situation.
The Ministry feared that it was only a matter of time before they would suffer a catastrophic data loss due to the current solution’s unreliability, so it decided to make a change. The requirements were straightforward: The agency needed a cost-effective solution that would integrate seamlessly with their existing Microsoft products, offer easier management and administration, and have solid support that they could turn to when needed.
By deploying Microsoft® System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior can now better protect its sensitive data from loss or damage. The backup process is much faster, and data recovery is no longer a gamble. Overall, the solution has been so successful that the Ministry’s IT staff now has more time to focus on developing and deploying new, leading-edge products that help to further the mission of the agency.
The Ministry’s network supports 17,000 Microsoft Windows®-based desktops, running Windows XP Professional SP2 and Windows Vista® Enterprise SP1. The network’s 650 Windows Servers are running Windows Server® 2003 with R2 and SP2, and Windows Server 2008, supporting approximately 8TB of data. The Ministry’s Microsoft Hyper-V™ environment is established and growing, and is currently made up of about 30 virtual servers. The Hyper-V integration with DPM is ongoing as servers are being added.
According to Roland Eberl, Head of Storage Systems & Backups for the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, the data recovery process took a great deal of time to successfully complete with the previous solution. “Our previous solution could only support about 6TB of data, and presented enormous problems,” he says. “The recovery process itself took a long time to complete, and about 20% of the time, it would just simply fail during the process, leaving us at a high risk for catastrophic data loss until a successful recovery could be performed.” The Ministry also felt that there was not adequate support provided for the previous product. Says Eberl, “There was no consistent dedicated contact person, and all of the tech support was provided indirectly, by one of the vendor’s partner companies, rather than by the vendor itself. We also felt that the overall cost of the product was too high.”
Eberl and his team knew that they needed to act quickly and replace the solution before any permanent data loss could occur. “We knew we needed a more consistent and efficient way to back up and recover our data,” he says. “But we also wanted a single-vendor solution that would integrate easily with our existing Microsoft investments, and that had a more streamlined administration and management framework.”
The Microsoft Solution
Data Protection Manager 2007, a member of the Microsoft® System Center family of products, provides tailored, application-aware protection for Microsoft SQL Server®, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft SharePoint® Server in either virtualized or physical environments. On-demand data recovery is made fast with an easy-to-use IT administrator console, or by empowering employees to recover their own files directly from their desktops. By combining continuous data protection (with traditional tape backup to protect business-critical data, DPM 2007 enables fast, consistent backup, and easy recovery.
The Ministry joined the DPM 2007 SP1 Technology Adoption Program (TAP) when they began evaluating solutions to replace the previous solution. The organization already had a great deal of experience with System Center products, having previously used System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Operations Manager 2007, and the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 beta.
In addition to evaluating DPM, the Ministry also considered other third-party backup utilities as possible replacements for its old backup and recovery solution. The organization ultimately selected DPM for their backup and recovery needs, based upon the product’s ease of management, integration with the other Microsoft products in their environment, and the superior level of customer and technical support they had received from Microsoft in the past. Because DPM is included in its Enterprise Agreement, the Ministry was able to eliminate the additional budget for agents that had been required by the previous solution. The Ministry began using DPM 2007 SP1 in March 2008, in support of its deployment of Windows Server 2008, and completed its enterprise-wide deployment In October of 2008.
||With the deployment of DPM, we’ve gained more than 260 additional IT hours per year. Having this extra time has enabled us to make great gains in developing the kinds of technology that will support the Ministry’s strategic objectives for the coming decade.
Head of Storage Systems & Backups
Austrian Ministry of the Interior
More Efficient Backups
The previous solution had significant problems when it came to executing regular data backups, generally allowing them to back up data only once per day, overnight, for most of the databases. This slow process left a great deal of new and changed data hanging in the balance until they could perform a subsequent backup.
With the deployment of DPM 2007, the Ministry’s data backup process is now automated, and has increased in speed by 33%. According to Eberl, “The significant increase in speed with DPM has made a big difference in the number of backup cycles we are able to conduct each day. Having our data backed up continuously throughout the day is an enormous benefit when dealing with sensitive government information.”
Improved Data Recovery
In the past, the Ministry struggled with ongoing data recovery issues. One in every five data restoration operations would fail before completion, leaving end users unproductive and waiting for mission-critical information recovery. DPM enabled the organization to gain a 20% increase in data recovery success, and now data recovery operations are successful 100% of the time. Says Eberl, “Never knowing when—or even if—a data restoration would be successful meant that IT always had concerns about being able to serve user requests. Now that DPM has assured that our data recovery process is solid, it’s easy for us to quickly restore data whenever we receive a request.”
Increased Strategic Focus for IT
Because DPM has streamlined the amount of administration and management time required for the Ministry’s data protection processes, IT is now able to focus on the development and deployment of new tools and technologies that support the agency’s long-term strategic goals. “With the deployment of DPM, we’ve gained more than 260 additional IT hours per year,” says Eberl. “Having this extra time has enabled us to make great gains in developing the kinds of technology that will support the Ministry’s strategic objectives for the coming decade.”
Microsoft System Center
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