Who: The Barmenia, an independent large insurance group
IT Environment: Two production data centers and one remote for DR. VMware, DellEMC Storage, Oracle, SQL, MongoDB, and Actifio Sky.
Challenge: Speed and flexibility in data backup/restore, DR, and growing application development, with demand for more database copies while avoiding unaffordable storage growth.
Solution: Actifio Sky installed to manage backup requirements. Creation of a comprehensive project plan to create custom automation using the Actifio API to introduce self-service developer access to production database copies, eliminating unnecessary storage and time bottlenecks.
Barmenia wants an agile and advanced IT environment to support its business strategy. It needed to be automated and technically responsive to changing business requirements. Their strategic plan addressed three significant challenges: data protection/disaster recovery, speed, and cost of application development with alignment towards a private cloud of its own. By implementing Actifio for Oracle Backup, database recovery times can be up to 90% faster, and significant expenses saved. Actifio also offers the option of automation in application development.
In the future, developers will have access to Actifio functions via a cloud-like self- service platform that allows them to update database copies as often as they like without the need for additional storage space.
Barmenia is one of the largest independent insurance groups in Germany. Headquartered in Wuppertal, insurance offers include health, life, accident, car, and property insurance. Its more than 3,800 office and field staff and a large number of brokers look after its customers. As one of the market leaders in health insurance, Barmenia has a portfolio of more than two million insurance policies and a comprehensive IT infrastructure to support the business.
Building an agile and advanced IT environment is an essential part of Barmenia’s business strategy. However, to move from a large and complex traditional IT environment to a more sophisticated, automated, and technically responsive environment; care, planning, and time are required. Barmenia’s IT team structured its plan in phases to meet three key challenges. The first required updating its data protection and recovery capabilities, and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities to take into account speed, coverage, and cost. The second phase creates an optimized service for application development and testing that is faster, more agile, and automated to support accelerated development for business growth. The third challenge is to create a modern, private cloud-like environment that can change rapidly and facilitate future business needs. With Actifio, all three strategic challenges can be supported.
The Backup & Disaster Recovery Solution
The Barmenia environment relies on a matrix of more than 200 databases and 400 applications to support critical services to more than two million customers. Service Levels (SLAs) for critical databases require that a problem is resolved within an hour or less. Archive logs are backed up every 15 minutes. However, it can take two hours or longer to restore a single terabyte of the existing backup application. By implementing Actifio for Oracle backups, large databases can now be recovered in just 15 minutes – up to 90% faster. The change also eliminates the need for Data Guard installations and saves significant storage and VMware licensing costs. The plan is to extend the use of Actifio to protect additional databases and install the necessary infrastructure in the remote data center to use Actifio for disaster recovery.
The Solution for Development
Application development is central to continued business growth, but there were challenges. As many as 250 internal and external application developers are currently working on new application functions and versions. In agile development, requests for production database copies have increased. There was often not enough storage space available or time to fulfill all requests. Developers had to do without copies, which had an effect on productivity and efficiency. “We know that we will have to be much more flexible and development-friendly in the future,” said Lünsmann. “More flexibility and speed are important.”
A careful analysis of their development challenges gave Barmenia the opportunity to pursue a broader strategy and create a more versatile, data-driven, cloud-like IT architecture while achieving their development goals. The Barmenia Plan was extended to use Actifio APIs integrated with Oracle to create a private cloud service that developers can access. The fully automated interface will be accessed through its own custom portal. The result offers application developers flexible automation with the fastest means to create new software features and provide access to hundreds of databases and applications.
• Database recovery time reduced from several hours to 15 minutes – up to 90% faster
• Securing SLAs with no need for additional Data Guard installations
• Extensive cost Savings for storage and VMware licenses
• Fully automated self-service replication for developers and testers
• Successive improvements in time, space and employee efficiency
• Enhanced capabilities and speed for development projects
• Support for accelerated business growth
• Remote DR implementation planned
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