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4Com Evaluates Major Vendors and Chooses Bacula Enterprise

Marc Alexander Hinz
Team Leader of IT at 4Com
«The most important part for us is that Bacula Enterprise is so reliable, and that is also works well with Puppet for rapid installation onto our Linux servers. This means that there is practically nothing we need to do when we install Bacula onto new servers – it just takes one click!»

About 4Com

4Com, the innovative technology company, has been developing and operating a web-based technology platform for end-to-end processing of customer contacts since 1994. In addition, 4Com is running the 4Com Innovation Center in Berlin since 2016. This is where 4Com develops innovative customer service solutions within an artificial intelligence framework. Today, 4Com is the market leader of cloud-based in & outbound solutions for customer service in Germany.

The Challenge

4Com were originally using Backup Exec, but found that it did not scale up enough to meet the different needs of its IT environment. “We have a lot of files, for example call detail records, with a lot of directories and many 1’000s of files. In 2014 we decided to update our entire backup strategy” said Marc Alexander Hinz, Team Leader of IT at 4Com. “Our main infrastructure is about 95% Linux servers but we also run some Windows servers running MSSQL, so we needed a solution that could also easily handle all platforms” said Marc.

“The evaluation process for a new backup solution took about two years”, said Marc. But Bacula came out on top. We knew that we needed to be free to backup as much data as we wanted, and that Bacula would especially take care of us with this requirement. In fact, our CTO had specifically mentioned that 4Com could not predict, how much data would be produced in the future and that any solution should take this important financial aspect into account, as well as be easily and highly scalable” said Marc. “Our finance department needed to know not only what today’s data backup costs would be, but future costs too. So the main decision to go with Bacula was simply because, in addition to its huge range of features, it imposed no architectural or financial limitation on how much data we could back up. And because we can´t predict, how much our data volume will grow in the future, it really made sense to leverage Bacula and simply eradicate any concerns about future data volume levels”, said Marc.

“Another criteria was to have a backup and recovery solution that was easy to handle. We thought Bacula would be more difficult to install and administrate than other products, but it turned out to be the other way round! And now, using Puppet, we even have new installations totally automated, so when we do a Linux install it is fully integrated and especially easy to implement”, said Marc. “We needed a solution that was compatible with both Linux and Windows, our storage systems, provide crash and application consistency and work well with Exchange server. It also had to be able to recover our backup in our laboratory, backup to both tape and disk and do really good deduplication and compression. It also had to be able to backup block devices and perform efficient single item recovery. Client deduplication was important, too. Because we use several data centers across Germany, it was important that we were able to easily replicate data from one data center to another” said Marc.

The Solution

“We first created a test environment and made sure everything worked 100%. We needed to be careful of some specific areas – for example we had to make sure some legacy IT environment was also properly integrated” said Marc.
“We run over 400 Servers” said Marc. “Spanning over nine data centers, we have, before deduplication, more than 200TB space for Bacula backup. Now with Bacula Enterprise we do one full backup per month, with incrementals every day. In some cases, we store thousands of files in one single folder. We also have quite a variety of different data-types to back up, from environments such as MySQL, MSSQL, Windows-Servers, Linux-Servers and Exchange. Bacula has the depth of features to be able to handle all our data types with ease. It also enables us to meet our specific backup strategy”, said Marc.

The Results

We think Bacula’s performance is excellent and we are really satisfied. We had to do a restore about 48 GB of files and it went very quickly and smoothly”, said Marc.

“The most important part for us is that Bacula Enterprise is so reliable, and that is also works well with Puppet for rapid installation onto our Linux servers. This means that there is practically nothing we need to do when we install Bacula onto new servers – it just takes one click! It is all done completely automatically, and once it is installed it just works with total reliability. That is what we need from a backup system” said Marc.

“We participated in the Bacula Systems training course. It was very useful, and we recommend that anyone who wants quality training on Bacula Enterprise  takes part in the course. And if we ever do have a concern now, Bacula Systems’ support is really good. It is fast at answering our questions and resolving any issues, and I especially appreciate that they were so knowledgeable and pro-active in their approach to us”, said Marc.

“As a communication service provider we manage a lot of sensitive data, and it is as important to us as to our customers that this data cannot get lost. We absolutely rely on Bacula Enterprise to give us the enterprise-grade safeguard of data that we require and our customers expect” said Marc.

Modules and Tools Adopted: