NAKIVO VM Backup Appliance Based on QNAP NAS Improves Backup Speed by 2.5X for a Research Institute

The Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology (IEMN)

Website: www.iemn.fr

The Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology (IEMN), located in France, improves VM backup speed by 2.5X and gains the ability to instantly recover files and Microsoft Active Directory objects with NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on QNAP NAS.

Business Challenge

The Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology (IEMN), is a joint research institute, established by four educational institutions. The institute has approximately 250 permanent staff and more than 180 doctoral and post-doctoral students. The research covers a wide area ranging from the physics of materials and nanostructures to telecommunications systems and acoustic and microwave instrumentation.

The IT infrastructure at the institute is 100% virtualized and consists of two hypervisor clusters with a total of 70 VMs. Approximately 75% VMs run on VMware, while 25% run on Hyper-V. Some VMs store network services and web services, including DNS, DHCP, NAC, RDP gateway, and web applications. Other VMs act as file servers and store data produced by the researchers and engineers or store administrative files. The main goal of the institute’s production infrastructure is to allow researchers, engineers, and students to work and collaborate not only on the institute’s premises, but also while travelling.

VM backup and ability to recover data is critical, as losing research data is not acceptable. The information that researchers and engineers produce has to be stored on a reliable system. In order to avoid data loss due to accidental deletion of files that would result in work disruption, the institute has to maintain a solid and reliable VM backup solution that would quickly restore information without significant downtime.

“We have tried different approaches to data protection and used multiple VM backup solutions. At the beginning, we used a simple file-based backup and stored data on a dedicated QNAP NAS, however, this approach was not scalable, as the number of our VMs increased. Next, we switched to trickier freeware/open source tools that allowed us to back up entire VMs rather than just files. However, these tools were quite difficult to implement and maintain and required sound knowledge of VMware and practical skills of Linux. We noticed performance issues and also had to pay additionally for the storage space used by backups, so it was becoming too costly. When we experienced two important failed recoveries, we knew it was time to search for a replacement,” says Mickaël Masquelin, IT Department Manager at the IEMN.

Solution

By choosing NAKIVO Backup & Replication as the institute’s new VM backup solution, IEMN met its selection criteria: web interface, VMware CBT support, fast VM backup, and instant file and object recovery. “Installing and configuring NAKIVO Backup & Replication is simple to achieve, while the web interface is user-friendly and allows enough customization for job definition. Firstly, we tried an installation package for Linux, but when we noticed that the product could be installed on QNAP NAS, we immediately tried that. The experience was awesome, as we effortlessly managed to get a dedicated VM backup appliance that worked out of the box,” says Mickaël.

An all-in-one VM backup appliance combines backup software, hardware, and storage in a single device. Installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication on QNAP NAS also allows to experience higher backup efficiency, reduce storage space, and achieve instant data recovery. “After installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication on our TVS-1271U-RP QNAP NAS, we do not have to worry about future updates or maintenance, as the update process is quite smooth. Thanks to global data deduplication and compression we not only saved VM storage space, but also saved money because we no longer need to purchase additional hard disk space,” says Mickaël.

Compared to the institute’s previous VM backup solutions, VM backup is now significantly faster and easier to administer with NAKIVO and QNAP. The dashboard provides enough details, such as backup size and bandwidth consumption, and backup jobs can also be followed in real time. “VM backup is blazing fast! Previously, all backup jobs were scheduled for the evening time, after 10:00pm, and often did not finish until after 9:00 am the next day. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on QNAP NAS, the backup is 2.5X faster! Backup jobs start at the same time, but finish around 2:00am. This feature allows us to launch other maintenance jobs after backup jobs complete successfully,” says Mickaël.

With instant file recovery and instant object recovery for Microsoft Active Directory, IEMN improves recovery time, if accidental file or objects deletions occur. “We appreciate the ability to easily recover a single file in the VM, without having to recover an entire VM first. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, we can search for Active Directory objects and containers, view Active Directory object attributes, and also recover deleted Active Directory objects such as users,” says Mickaël.

Screenshot Verification provides IEMN an automated way to near-instantly verify VM backups. “With screenshot verification, I believe that our troubles with backup reliability are in the past. After a VM backup is completed, the product performs an instant VM recovery from the backup, takes a screenshot of the VM, and sends us a report with the screenshot by email. With this feature, we no longer have headaches and can see that we have a good backup and that VMs could be recovered, if necessary,” says Mickaël.

Results

NAKIVO Backup & Replication installed on QNAP NAS provides IEMN with a 2.5X VM backup speed increase and VM storage space savings, in comparison to the previous VM backup solutions. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, the institute can instantly recover files and Active Directory objects and near-instantly verify VM backups. “With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, our IT department can concentrate time on other IT-related tasks and does not have to worry about hypervisor upgrades or maintenance because we know that the product will help us in the upgrade process. Now, we not only have faster VM backup, but also, we have VM backup for our Hyper-V VMs. We found a professional solution that covers all our needs, saves money, and provides reliability” Mickaël.

About IEMN

The Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology (IEMN) was created in 1992 with the support of three regional partners, the University of Science and Technology of Lille (USTL), the University of Valenciennes and Hainaut Cambrésis, ISEN (Institut Supérieur d'Électronique du Nord), and CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research, National Research Organization in France). Today, the IEMN has around 450 members working in a scientific field ranging from information and communication technologies to micro- and nanotechnologies. It consists of five scientific departments: physics of nanostructures, micro and nanosystems, microfluidics and biofluidics, micro /nano and optoelectronics, communication systems and microwave applications, and acoustics. For more information, please visit www.iemn.fr.