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Denver Broncos Relies on Veeam Availability Suite

To backup 100 vSphere VMs (1PB) to NetApp FAS storage systems
This is a Press Release edited by StorageNewsletter.com on 2017.10.10

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Veeam Software, Inc. announced that the Denver Broncos, one of the NFL's most successful teams, has replaced its legacy backup system with its Availability Suite to ensure 24.7.365 availability of important applications and data used by coaches and players.

The team compiles and analyzes enormous amounts of data which helps them select new players during the NFL draft, assemble their roster at training camp, and beat their opponents on game day. When slow backup and recovery threatened data availability and jeopardized their ability to make well-informed decisions quickly, the team punted to Veeam.

Since 1970, the Denver Broncos have sold out every home game, and by 2016, the team had won 11 division and world championships. They choose exceptional athletes, hire brilliant coaches and use IT to gain a competitive edge both on and off the field. They were one of the first teams to digitize their playbook, giving coaches a fast, easy way to communicate new plays to staff and players. They were also one of the first teams to build proprietary applications and databases for scouting, training and game-day video analysis.

"You can never have too much information at your fingertips, especially when the clock is ticking and decisions have to be made fast," said Russ Trainor, VP of IT, Denver Broncos Football Club. "The clock seems to tick loudest during the NFL draft, training camp and on game days. That's when access to data is most critical."

The NFL draft is a three-day media extravaganza. Over the course of seven rounds, teams select eligible players for the upcoming season. They have 10 minutes to make a selection in round one, 7 minutes in round two, and only 2 minutes in remaining rounds.

"Our guys at the draft venue are in constant contact with the folks back home who've spent weeks analyzing each eligible player and compiling invaluable statistical data," Trainor said. "If that data isn't available every minute, we can't make the best-possible selections. Choosing the right players can make or break a team."

According to Trainor, data availability is also critical during training camp and on game days. Without access to data during training camp, coaches have a difficult time whittling down a 90-player roster to 53. Without access to data on game day, digitized playbooks are useless and fan-facing systems become obsolete. Ticket scanners won't work at entrance gates to the stadium, point-of-sale systems are useless at concession stands, videos won't play on scoreboards, and Wi-Fi can't power fans' mobile apps."

"If data isn't available, we're in a bad situation," Trainor added. "That's why we had to replace our legacy solution. It was unreliable and made us susceptible to downtime, which is unacceptable, and data loss, which is unthinkable."

Veeam supported the Denver Broncos in three initiatives that its legacy solution couldn't handle: the team's final leg of digital transformation to virtualization, backup to the cloud and industry audits.

The Denver Broncos virtualized every football application except one because they worried legacy backup wouldn't be able to recover it. Because Veeam backups and recovers reliably, they were able to virtualize completely and finish their digital transformation project. Veeam also provides an integrated, fast and secure way for the team to backup, replicate and restore from public or private clouds. To enhance DR procedures, the team can now point their backups and replicas to the cloud of their choice using their Veeam console. Finally, the company provides detailed reports on the team's backup infrastructure, which helps the team demonstrate compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard  (ticket purchases) and HIPAA (players' medical records).

The team now uses Veeam to backup 100 vSphere VMs (1PB) to NetApp FAS storage systems in their stadium and practice facility. The team also uses Veeam to transfer backup copies to the cloud for DR.

"Veeam is scalable, so even though our data grows by 30% each year, Veeam scales with us," Trainor said. "Veeam also integrates fully with VMware and NetApp. They work as one unit, so restoring VMs from NetApp storage snapshots is simple and straightforward with Veeam-no special training is required. The Veeam interface is intuitive and easy to use."

"Organizations today need 24.7.365 availability, and American football teams are no exception," said Doug Hazelman, VP of product strategy, Veeam. "To win, the Broncos depend on their players, their coaches and, increasingly, their data. Nothing less than true availability will do, and the team wasn't going to stop until their staff had 24.7.365 access to the applications and data they need to make the right decisions quickly. And when Veeam is on the team, IT never has to worry about fumbling on a critical play because the data was out of bounds."

Trainor said reliability is the number one benefit of using Veeam: "Reliability is where the rubber meets the road. When our team is on the clock to make a draft pick or any big decision, every second counts. Veeam is a reliable data availability solution. It eases our anxiety."

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