SPAR ICS

With Commvault software, SPAR ICS backup services can now protect infrastructure, applications or devices

Challenge

  • To centrally archive all emails from different organisations with different domains and multiple Exchange environments
  • No centralised overview of the backups in the data centers

Solution

  • Email Archive – eDiscovery and Space Management
  • Backup & Recovery – Database/Application, Deduplication, Remote Sites, Snap Management and Virtualisation

Result

  • The recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) were significantly cut – by as much as 1,500 percent
  • The storage capacity and backup network load were cut by more than 95 percent
  • Seventy-five percent head count reduction in Italy required to complete backup processes

Industry

Information and communication

Headquarters

Salzburg, Austria

Website

https://www.spar.at/

https://www.spar-ics.com/

Applications

  • VMware
  • NetApp
  • SAP
  • Exchange
  • MSSQL
  • Oracle
  • Lotus Notes
  • Cache
  • SAPHANA
  • PostgreSQL
  • My SQL

Platform/File system

  • Linux
  • AIX
  • 212 Unix servers (AT & IT)
  • 87 Window servers (AT & IT)
  • Windows server 2003-2012

Hardware partners

  • Server solutions by HP
  • Storage solutions by NetApp
  • Networking technology by Cisco

Founded in 1954 by Hans F. Reisch in Tyrol together with 100 self-employed merchants, SPAR ICS today is Austria’s largest private-sector employer with more than 1,600 stores and 41,000 employees. The company also operates around 1,000 stores outside its home market in Croatia, Hungary, Italy, and Slovenia, employing 36,000 people there. The IT infrastructure of the SPAR ICS Österreich Group is managed by the Group-owned SPAR ICS Business Services GmbH. SPAR ICS employs a total of 380 IT specialists, 250 of whom are based in Austria.

In 2013, SPAR ICS introduced Commvault software to archive emails in Austria, Slovenia and Hungary – the first centralized email archive function. After seeing the benefits of Commvault’s solution for the mail archive, SPAR ICS also decided to go with Commvault to back up and restore data in Austria and Italy, thereby replacing previous local solutions in the two countries.

Archive and backup: On the search for an easy and efficient solution

When the legal framework about mail archiving was about to change in Slovenia, SPAR ICS had to look into finding an email archive solution – and they decided to evaluate a solution for further countries besides Slovenia. As each country organisation had its own Microsoft domain, the challenge was to centrally archive all the emails from different organisations with different domains and multiple Exchange environments. In 2013, an email archive based on Commvault’s software was introduced in Slovenia, Hungary and Austria.

“It was simply too complex,” says Michael Demker, Team Leader Enterprise Systems at SPAR ICS Business Services GmbH, describing the back-up solution previously in place. “At different levels, we were using too many different tools. Several could only be used by colleagues who were qualified experts. Moreover, we had no centralised overview of the back-ups in the data centres.”

In Austria, the company was using HP Data Protector, NetApp SnapManager and user-defined shell and PowerShell scripts. Tape-based and thus particularly error-prone solutions that did not permit any form of automation were used in Italy. In addition, it was not possible to integrate Lotus Notes.

After the successful implementation of the Commvault email archive solution it was a logical step to implement also the central backup with Commvault. Thanks to the seamless integration of all modules, all requirements of a modern data management on one platform were met. The holistic project management and the professional migration managed by the Commvault team allowed us to keep the ambitious time frame and to successfully complete the project.

Andreas Kranabitl, CIO at SPAR ICS

Lots of emails were stored just locally on our employees’ devices. In Hungary for example, the PST data was ‘scattered’ and we had the issue that our solution was not supported sufficiently by Microsoft.

Michael Gstach, Enterprise Architect at SPAR ICS Business Services

In 2014, SPAR ICS began a selection process to find a new solution to back up and restore data. The solution needed to be applicable for all sites and countries while at the same time permitting role-based administration rights at a local level. Test and Q&A systems, as well as disaster recovery, need to be implemented via a centralised data centre. The main objectives were the integration of modern storage technologies and the standardised integration of data backups in existing applications such as Lotus Notes, VMware and Oracle. Given the fact that modernising back-up and restore systems was an issue both in Austria and Italy, this was turned into an international project, with the focus on twelve data centres – nine in Austria and three in Italy.

SPAR ICS issued a tender to find a partner to devise a comprehensive package of services from software licences and design to implementation and support. SPAR ICS compared several providers during the selection process. Commvault was invited as SPAR ICS already had some experience with their software from the email archive project.

One for all: SPAR ICS says yes to Commvault software

In 2013, Commvault’s email archive solution was implemented at SPAR ICS. The retail company introduced it for about 8,000 mailboxes in Austria, Hungary and Slovenia. The centralized management makes sure that the mailboxes are archived safely by the IT team. SPAR ICS benefits from the strong integration with NetApp storage. At the same time, the storage was reduced significantly thanks to the dedupe feature.

The software’s policy-based workflow approach convinced SPAR ICS as it enabled large volumes of data to be processed quickly and automatically. SPAR ICS Österreich manages around 350 terabytes today and the system is designed to cope with up to 400 terabytes. Another asset was IntelliSnap, which makes it possible to take application-specific hardware snapshots, along with the ability to make granular backups – without having to return to user-defined scripting solutions.

Commvault also eliminated SPAR ICS’s dependency on storage vendors or any proprietary applications. Project planning was also a key asset. “The team at Commvault presented a very detailed and well-thought-out concept to us including a roll-out plan, which we could use to get started immediately. Our decision was further reinforced by the fact that Commvault is a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant,” explains Demker.

“The decision to go with Commvault was due to many reasons. We were won over by the ease with which the software could be integrated into our existing systems and the high degree of user-friendliness. The solution offered everything we were looking for combined in a single product,” says Demker.

After having selected Commvault, a core team consisting of three Commvault consultants worked together with a five-person team from SPAR ICS in Austria and Italy to launch the system. Following numerous on-site workshops in Salzburg (Austria) and Mestrino (Italy), the rollout ultimately began in the middle of January and was completed at the beginning of April 2015 – despite very specific configurations and environments at SPAR ICS. During implementation, a number of challenges had to be overcome such as the large amount of data that needed to be backed up (around 160 Oracle databases) and the unpredictable way in which the NetApp application behaved in the new environment.

Excellent feedback from end users and a massive reduction in time needed for administrative tasks

“The Commvault solution fit perfectly into our long-term storage strategy. That is why we went with Commvault in the first place. Our email environment had grown organically over the years, each of our country branches using their own environments. Commvault were the only ones that could handle our multiple forest exchange environment – at an unbeatable price point” says Michael Gstach. Moreover, the automatic archiving of the emails saves time for the individual users as well as for the IT team. Today, Outlook performs much better, and each individual user benefits from this fact.

In terms of backup and restoring, the launch of Commvault’s software resulted in one solution for Austria and Italy. “We have considerably reduced both the time and personnel resources needed to carry out backups,” says Demker.

“By using Commvault, we are able to replicate the data from the various countries to Austria and to manage them centrally. By doing this we can access all company data at all times, which means an enormous value for us,” says Kranabitl.

Today, files backed up in Italy are automatically transferred, stored, and indexed in a data centre run by SPAR ICS in Austria. The recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) were significantly cut – by as much as 1,500 percent. The software’s deduplication feature saves both storage and network resources: The storage capacity and backup network load were cut by more than 95 percent. With the former system in Italy, four people were required for back-up work. Today, only one person is needed for this, freeing up more resources for new projects.

“Backing up is a thankless task. It costs time and resources and unless it results in noticeable errors, nobody notices and recognizes its importance. By introducing Commvault software, we have removed legacy systems and are equipped for the future. The feedback from our end users is extremely positive,” says Michael Demker.

“The key thing for our management was that the solution is future-proof and scalable. Commvault fully meets this requirement. We are naturally concerned with the issue of mobility as an internal IT service provider. Even though there are no specific plans in place right now, it is comforting us for us to know that with Commvault, we are already using a technology that can be integrated into cloud-based infrastructures without much effort.”

The modular structure of the software solution means that SPAR ICS will be able to integrate further modules easily and with comparatively low investment costs in the future, regarding both the integration of new functions as well as rollout in other SPAR ICS countries, by as much as 16 times.

Email archiving solutions from Commvault

Commvault’s powerful, integrated email backup and archiving solution helps you proactively comply with the many regulatory, legal and business requirements for your data.