NAKIVO Saves 600% on VMware Backup and Replication Costs for One of Africa's Largest ISPs

Company Profile

Founded in 2000, Afrihost (Pty) Ltd. provides Internet solutions, hosting, and domain services in Africa. Afrihost is not a story of products, strategies, or market-share, but a story of friendship and determination. Afrihost is the brainchild of best friends Gian Visser, Brendan Armstrong, and Peter Meintjes, who had a dream of building a company that would delight their clients with excellent service and amazing products.

Over the years, Afrihost grew from humble beginnings in Visser’s family home to be one of the top 3 ADSL service providers in South Africa. The company has since won the MyBroadBand ISP of the Year award three times in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Afrihost’s rapid and continued growth led to their decision to join forces with MTN in 2012. By joining the biggest telecoms network on the continent, Afrihost has ensured that their clients will enjoy the benefits of MTN’s scale and investment in innovation, while their network grows to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of clients moving towards Afrihost’s attractive pricing and superior client service.

Business Challenge

To provide Internet solutions, hosting, and domain services Afrihost leverages two high-end VMware virtualized data centers with blade servers running VMware ESXis. The company has 1000s of VMs deployed and managed, which run a variety of operating systems, applications, and databases, including Windows, Linux, IIS, Apache, Exchange, Active Directory, SharePoint, Oracle, Microsoft SQL, MySQL, VoIP and file servers, and so on.

Aiming to provide customers with reliable services, Afrihost used a popular VM backup and replication solution to protect their virtual infrastructure. The previous solution, however, had a number of disadvantages: licensing and maintenance costs were prohibitively high to protect the entire infrastructure, the product lacked appropriate APIs to fully automate VM backup and replication, and had a complex Windows-based interface.

As a result, the IT team at Afrihost started looking for an alternative solution. "Our goal was to improve VM data protection levels for our own and customer VMs and reduce related costs at the same time," said Brendan Armstrong, CTO at Afrihost.

Solution

The IT team at Afrihost has evaluated the top VM backup and replication solutions available on the market including NAKIVO Backup & Replication, which came up as the leader. The product has performed extremely well in the VMware vSphere lab test environment across all tests, delivering the highest performance of VM backup and replication. In addition, NAKIVO Backup & Replication has provided support for Linux, modular architecture, an intuitive Web interface, and affordable pricing. "We also liked the flexibility of NAKIVO in terms of feature development. During the POC, we requested that the product supports datastore clusters and provide APIs required to automate VM data protection. Both features were implemented by NAKIVO in the next dot release," said Brendan.

Results

All VMs at Afrihost are protected by NAKIVO Backup & Replication. VM backup and replication is fully automated at Afrihost: using NAKIVO APIs, new VMs are automatically added to appropriate backup/replication jobs, and decommissioned VMs are automatically removed from appropriate jobs. This has simplified the VM lifecycle process and reduced the time previously spent on VM data protection.

The automation of data protection processes, combined with a lower cost licensing and maintenance has provided Afrihost with significant savings. "NAKIVO provided us with over 600% savings on our VM protection and backup platform, whilst delivering higher performance backup and replication that is simple, robust, and scalable. Afrihost prides itself in providing customers with leading products and services underpinned with exceptional support at an affordable cost, it is, therefore, key that our technology partners offer innovative solutions that embrace our ethos," said Brendan.

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