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HBC Taps Veeam for Multi-cloud Data Protection and Ransomware Resilience

Moving from legacy backup solution to Veeam saves company millions of dollars

Veeam  Software, the leader in backup, recovery and data management solutions that deliver Modern Data Protection, announced that HBC, a holding company of investments and businesses that operates at the intersection of technology, retail operations and real estate, has chosen Veeam Availability Suite to centralize data protection on premises and across clouds. Veeam helps HBC ensure business continuity, meet internal governance compliance requirements and protect against ransomware. Additionally, HBC saved more than $1 million in a one-time capital expenditure and saves $600,000 in recurring operational expenses annually.

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“Before we began the cloud migration we were closing in on a hardware and software refresh. Since Veeam is hardware, software and cloud agnostic, we avoided the refresh, saving more than $1 million in a one-time capital expenditure and $600,000 in recurring operating expenses annually. That’s a significant savings.”

From the fur trade to Fifth Avenue, HBC has been in business for more than 350 years. North America’s longest continually operating company began in 1670 with a royal charter from England to seek a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean, occupy the lands adjacent to Hudson Bay and set up commerce. Today, HBC is a legend in the retail world. It’s the majority owner of iconic e-commerce companies such as Saks, a leading online destination for luxury fashion, Saks OFF 5TH, a premier luxury off-price e-commerce company and The Bay, a Canadian e-commerce marketplace. HBC’s legacy is providing an unrivaled customer experience.

“To improve upon the customer experience, we began a digital transformation to accelerate our e-commerce business,” said Ope Bakare, Chief Technical Officer, HBC. “Operating multiple data centers didn’t make sense in our customer-centric world, so we adopted a multi-cloud strategy.”

As HBC moved IT systems and data to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure, Bakare said he and his colleagues discovered something unfortunate about the legacy backup solution. It began to show signs of failing. “Failing backups can lead to downtime, and downtime can lead to big problems in retail,” he explained. “Downtime can drastically impact a company’s logistics ecosystem, leading to a domino effect that can break the business. We have a complex logistics ecosystem, so keeping it healthy and functioning is an absolute priority. An hour of downtime could cost our company millions of dollars in logistics and shipping.”

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Matthew Pick, Senior Director of Cloud Architecture at HBC, said there was another challenge with the legacy backup solution. “It was inflexible and didn’t integrate with our multi-cloud workloads. We began using backup tools provided by AWS and Azure, but they came with constraints like operational overhead, which is time consuming. We needed one flexible, powerful and scalable solution to protect every workload everywhere.”

Veeam backs up 80 TB of data across more than 2,000 instances in AWS and Azure to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Azure Blob Storage. Veeam also back up 40 TB of data across 14 physical machines on premises to Dell EMC Data Domain.

“One of the things I love most about Veeam is operational consistency,” Bakare explained. “We can protect every asset wherever it resides in a consistent way. Veeam takes the complication and noise out of data protection, allowing our engineers to focus on innovating for the business rather than worrying about backups.”

Pick said operational consistency also allows for data retention to be a shared responsibility across teams. “Operational consistency places the onus on each business unit that wants to protect data,” he continued. “If they tag their VMs correctly, Veeam will back them up, without question.”

Pick is referring to Veeam’s fully customizable policies that automate backup and data lifecycle management. He said policy-based automation also provides an easy way for the IT team to show each business unit how much data protection will cost. “Veeam enables us to have more productive conversations with each unit so we can set expectations appropriately. We also have visibility into our overall spend, and this is where the Veeam Universal License comes in handy. We can move licenses across business units and workloads to maximize our spend.”

Bakare added that policy-based automation also ensures business continuity, supports internal governance compliance requirements and protects against ransomware. “We had been going through a process to validate and close gaps in our business continuity strategy, so Veeam’s ability to use tagging for cloud backup was a massive step forward for us. Tagging also ensures internal governance compliance and helps us fight ransomware. Veeam lets us separate our backups from our IT systems with a barrier, so if ransomware strikes our IT systems, our backups are safe.”

Bakare said Veeam saves money, too. “Before we began the cloud migration we were closing in on a hardware and software refresh. Since Veeam is hardware, software and cloud agnostic, we avoided the refresh, saving more than $1 million in a one-time capital expenditure and $600,000 in recurring operating expenses annually. That’s a significant savings.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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