Landal GreenParks centralises and speeds up backups.
Landal GreenParks manages more than 70 holiday parks. With 51 parks in the Netherlands, Landal is the leading provider of holiday parks in the Netherlands. Outside the Netherlands, Landal has parks in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Hungary. Landal GreenParks has about 2,550 employees. The majority of its guests find out about Landal thanks to the extensive website, which Landal views as its shop window. Bookings and customer service are managed through this website and guests can also download brochures and other information. In summary, this website handles a lot of data which is extremely valuable to Landal. In addition, a lot of data derived from administration and reception is stored at the parks themselves. It’s very important to manage backups properly in order to ensure the continuity of Landal’s operation. For that reason, Landal GreenPark’s IT staff contacted Data Management Professionals (DMP) to achieve their backup objectives in a joint operation.
Creating an overview
Out of all the parks, 26 have their own IT infrastructure. Before the collaboration with DMP, the backup data was locally stored at these parks. This meant, among other things, that the staff members at these parks had to change the tapes when necessary. Elroy van der Hout, IT Consultant and responsible for project innovation at Landal GreenParks, talks about the need to change the backup methodology: ‘I’m currently working with a team on an innovation drive within Landal’s infrastructure. The continuous improvement of the digital services is part of it. More and more things are being handled online and that results in larger data flows. This leads to the need to modernise our somewhat old-fashioned backup method.’
Landal GreenParks are known for their wonderful parks, which are surrounded by nature. In these locations, a good Internet connection can not be taken for granted. Landal’s IT department constantly grappled with the question as to how the data originating in the parks could be backed up centrally to the main location in Leidschendam. ‘As you may imagine, it’s not possible to get a fibre-optic connection to a park on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere in Germany’, adds Van der Hout.
Initially, Landal set itself three objectives
- to centralise backups so as to better guarantee oversight and security
- to create a virtually tape-free environment
- to speed up backups by using backup-to-disk
These three objectives were achieved, in part thanks to the collaboration with DMP. This collaboration began at the moment when Landal had to extend the support for the Commvault data management solution. The supplier with which Landal was working at that time was unable to take care of this extension. In addition, the composition of the licence needed to be adjusted in order to achieve the specified objectives. DMP was appointed to perform a situation analysis and come up with a design for the new situation.
Switching to a capacity licence
DMP observed that Landal was using Commvault at that time and made some recommendations regarding how Landal could make a better use of the licences in the future. The conclusion was that it would be better for Landal to switch from a traditional Commvault licence to a capacity licence. This kind of licence calculates how much data is backed up. This method results in considerable cost savings. Moreover, Landal is free to use all Commvault products within the defined capacity limit where a separate licence was previously required for each product. This licence also allows you to use deduplication, so that the backup takes up as little space as possible in the disk. Consequently, the copy of the backup is also deduplicated and thus the connection between the locations is subject to the minimum possible load. Given the limited bandwidth between the parks and the main locations, this is a very important feature.
Central management system
Another major benefit is Commvault’s central management system, which is currently being used. Comprehensive reports can now be run just by pressing a button, and management can be carried out from a single environment on all locations and all applications. Thanks to this, Landal has a complete overview every day as to whether all the backups, including the ones at the parks, have been successful.
Business continuity plan
In addition to the centralisation of backups, Landal’s business continuity plan also identified a requirement for a new backup structure. The plan examined how the backups that are centrally stored in Leidschendam could also be secured at other locations. A disaster recovery location was set up in Nieuwkuijk. A copy backup of every backup created in Leidschendam is stored in the Nieuwkuijk data centre. Landal’s backup system is rounded off by a third location in Groningen where the company has another large office. These three locations are linked to each other by a backup unit and a backup-to-disk unit. For example, in the event of a disaster in Leidschendam resulting in the impossibility to make backups to this primary location from the parks, the backup would be redirected to Nieuwkuijk. If this was not possible, there would yet be another backup in Groningen, and Landal would still have its data safely stored there.
New backup environment
With the conversion of the licence, we were able to start organising the new backup environment. The capacity licence allowed Landal to freely choose the desired type of backup. Logically, given the chosen disaster-recovery locations, the choice fell on backup-to-disk. In the summer of 2014, DMP began to set up a plan for the migration steps to be taken and the hardware to be ordered. Advice was also provided regarding the building, roll-out and linking of the backup environment.
The building of the backup environment commenced in September 2014 and by the end of that month the project had been completed. In fact, it took only six days to complete the implementation for Landal’s IT team and DMP. As part of the process, the Commvault licence was upgraded to the latest version. Simultaneously with this upgrade, Landal’s three backup locations were linked to each other by DMP. ‘Throughout this process we had fantastic support and extremely useful guidance from DMP. This enabled us to achieve our objectives within the established timescale. The backup is centralised, the number of tapes has been minimised and the backup process has been speeded up by the use of disk. Moreover, we now have a backup environment that includes two disaster-recovery locations putting us in a very safe position’, says Van der Hout.
What happens in the future?
‘Actually, the future has already caught up with us’, admits Van der Hout. ‘We recently upgraded our capacity licence because the amount of data we are backing up has grown strongly. The reason for this can be found in the ambitious objectives of Landal GreenParks, which have originated in recent weeks. We must continue to automate more, integrate systems and connect it all together if we are to achieve these objectives. Whereas the initial focus lay on the continuous modernisation of the holiday parks, this focus has now shifted noticeably onto the internal organisation. As the person responsible for project innovation, I am very pleased to see these kinds of developments happening.’