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Veeam backup software helps California city streamline IT

Rancho Cucamonga, a city in Southern California, moved from tape backup to Veeam software. Amid the pandemic and new protection needs, it's looking at other ways Veeam can help.

The city of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., used to devote four to eight hours per week to managing its tape backups.

"With Veeam, we've reduced that to near zero," said Darryl Polk, the city's chief innovation officer.

Darryl PolkDarryl Polk

The city started using Availability Suite, the flagship Veeam backup software product, in 2017. It's backing up about a dozen data center physical servers and 55 TB in the city's virtual environment. The city just completed a migration to a Dell EMC VxRail hyper-converged system and has about 200 virtual servers.

"We're all in on Veeam," Polk said.

Backup switch frees up valuable IT hours

Rancho Cucamonga, a city of 177,000 residents in Southern California, needs to protect its data from threats including earthquakes and now the pandemic. In addition to natural disasters, ransomware has emerged as a major threat to cities.

"With everything going on, we've got plenty of things to do right now," Polk said of the importance of IT getting time back.

Before switching to Veeam backup software, the city backed up data on tapes daily with IBM hardware and Symantec (now Veritas) Backup Exec software. IT needed to monitor the backup process for close to 40 hours per month. That work included changing out the tapes and packing them up for off-site storage. In addition, data recovery from tape could take hours or days.

Moving to cloud backup was a key part of the overall strategy change, Polk said. The city also uses Iland Secure Cloud Backup with Veeam Cloud Connect.

All of Polk's systems staff were proponents of Veeam backup software. Polk said he liked it for its "ease of use, reliability and overall reputation in the industry."

The city has now moved off tape. Managing the Veeam environment requires almost no daily or weekly interaction, Polk said.

With everything going on, we've got plenty of things to do right now.
Darryl PolkChief innovation officer, city of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

The city takes daily incremental backups and weekly full backups.

"Everything is automated," Polk said.

It was already essential for the city to have strong backups. The pandemic and corresponding cyberattacks have increased the need to restore quickly. For example, Polk has seen more sophisticated cyberattacks, including a spear phishing attack tailored to catch users.

"It's made everything we're doing for data protection more important," Polk said.

The city also provides an annual security training for all its end users, which range from a base of 600 to 1,000 during a typical summer.

'What else can this take on?'

The city kept its doors open after the pandemic hit. At its peak, 30% of city employees were working remotely, Polk said. Some employees may end up working remotely full-time.

That's where backups in the cloud come in handy -- the system doesn't need the data center for restoration.

The city is trying to adapt to new protection needs, for example, employees using their own equipment at home and relying on cloud-based services.

Polk is looking into other Veeam backup software offerings, including the Backup for Microsoft Office 365 product. For the moment, the city counts on Microsoft for protection of 365. Microsoft provides more protection for its government cloud users like Rancho Cucamonga than the average business user, Polk said.

Still, it's "behind their curtain," Polk said, and easy access becomes more important as the city gets more dependent on these cloud-based services.

In addition, the city's Microsoft Teams usage has increased dramatically since the pandemic hit.

"We're pretty dependent on it for internal communications," Polk said.

While Veeam recently announced enhanced backup for Teams, the city isn't actively looking to back up that data just yet, Polk said. Instead, protection of Exchange is a bigger need.

Veeam backup software has alleviated work and performed the way the city expected, Polk said. Now the question is: "What else can this take on for us in the future?"

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