IKK GROUP FUELS ACCELERATED & COST- EFFECTIVE EXPANSION WITH VEEAM SOFTWARE
The Issam Khairy Kabbani Group of Companies ( IKK Group) was established nearly half a century ago. Starting operations in its native Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, the Group has expanded in scope and geography to serve a host of industries, including trading and manufacturing, and specialised contracting services for the diversified construction sectors.
Today, some 14,000 staff work in 42 independent IKK companies, spread over many divisions, branches and outlets in more than ten countries. The Group’s showrooms, sales offices, factories and R& D offices can be found across the MENA region.
The IKK Group operates a centralised IT department that oversees technology services for all IKK lines of business. One of the key concerns of this central IT team is to guarantee the uptime of services for all users and customers.
“If our data is compromised, or if our services are unavailable, a tremendous number of users and end customers are impacted,” says Ayman Mansour, IT Infrastructure Department Manager, IKK Group. “Service downtime translates to a direct loss of productivity and business.”
With so much at stake, Mansour and his team knew that the IKK Group’s legacy backup solution presented a significant business risk. The solution would frequently throw up errors during the backup process. Due to the vendor’s lack of local support, attempting to resolve these issues inevitably translated to lengthy interactions and followups with channel partners, which introduced complexity and waste of valuable time. Given the Group’s rapidly scaling geographical footprint, 24/ 7 regional support was no longer optional.
“Besides a solution that could meet our technical requirements, we needed better support and communications from the vendor itself,” Mansour explains. “Going through partners and facing long delays was no longer viable for us. It was time for a change.”
THE VEEAM SOLUTION
After careful market analysis, the IKK Group selected the Veeam Availability Suite to address the technology and support shortcomings it was facing.
An instant appeal in the evaluation process was Veeam’s innovative licensing model. “Instead of basing fees on terabytes, Veeam pioneered the persocket licensing model. The per-socket costs only grow as your environment grows, not as your storage grows and so, we found this far more cost- effective in the long run,” adds Mansour.
With the IKK Group’s environment expanding as its business grows, Veeam’s licensing model has proved to be 30% more cost- effective than the previous solution.
Further resources savings have been
With Veeam, it isn’t just their solutions but also their support that can boost customer satisfaction - you get 24/7 support for incidents whenever needed. If we had to rate Veeam’s regional support, that would be a 5 stars service most of the times; still we are eager for better cooperation and success stories with Veeam’s team in the future.” Ayman Mansour, IT Infrastructure Department Manager, Issam Khairy Kabbani Group of Companies
made possible by Veeam ONE, which provides the centralised IT team with comprehensive monitoring and analytics for their virtual and physical environments. This has enabled them to optimise resource planning and maximise utilisations of existing investments as they scale their IT infrastructure.
Highlighting the value of Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery, Mansour describes how this feature ‘saved the day’ when his company’s portal (Microsoft Sharepoint) service, failed. Despite this being almost two terabytes in database size, the team could restore the portal service shortly because Veeam’s solution enabled them to load an image while the full restore proceeded smoothly in the background. As a result, users were barely aware of any issue and could carry out all functions without significant impact.
Similarly, a number of similar services for IKK Group companies have been streamlined thanks to Veeam, states Mansour. “Whereas our old solution took days to restore data, and demanded considerable time and effort from our IT team to address errors, Veeam’s has transformed this experi
ence,” says Mansour. “End users don’t realise things are happening, and their experience remains seamless,” he adds.
Equally beneficial has been the relationship that the IKK Group’s IT team shares with Veeam. From their very first engagement, the commitment and expertise of Veeam’s regional team was evident to IKK Group’s centralised IT team, who appreciated their ability to deliver dependable, 24/7 support.
“With Veeam, it isn’t just their solutions but also their support that can boost customer satisfaction - you get 24/7 support for incidents whenever needed. If we had to rate Veeam’s regional support, that would be a five stars service most of the times; still, we are eager for better cooperation and success stories with Veeam’s team in the future,” explains Mansour.
Given that the IT team was no longer spending a lot of time addressing issues or following up on support tickets, Mansour states that the efficiency of his IT team has increased. Further to this, systems admins have seen an ‘ improvement’ in their ability to deliver business continuity and availability of services, and annual data restoration downtimes have dropped. “The beauty of Veeam is that when you come in the morning, every light is green. So, you’re assured that backups are taking place smoothly,” he says.
The IKK Group’s centralised IT team have been quick to turn the new solution features, and the rapid access to quality support and expertise they receive from Veeam, into an opportunity to focus on initiatives and enhancements that deliver business values. One such avenue has been the strengthening of data and storage security. “Veeam is working with us to implement best practices and enhanced features for data protection. This will enable us to greatly strengthen our resilience to possible malware, which are very significant threats to any business,” adds Mansour.
Under the direction of the Group’s chairman Sheikh Hassan Al Kabbani and the corporate management, led by IKK groups’ CIO Mr Zohdi El-saadi, the centralised IT team is currently pre
paring an off-site backup centre. During the transition, the Group has been utilising (as a pilot phase) cloud storage option to manage data migration through the cloud. “Veeam’s compatibility with the offerings from major cloud vendors has meant that integration is seamless, allowing a rapid and effective data migration,” says Mansour.
On completion of this project, the Group may expand its off-site backup facility into a partial Disaster Recovery (DR) site based on management needs and decision. “Today, Veeam is one of the pillars of our service availability and business continuity strategy. If the corporate management decides to establish a DR site, we shall use it an opportunity to extend our relationship with this reliable technology provider,” Explains Mansour.
Among the various benefits was an increase in efficiency, enabling system engineers to focus on high-value initiatives. By reducing backup and recovery process time, errors and issues, Veeam’s solution allows the IKK Group’s IT team to invest efforts and time into enhancement projects that deliver significant business benefits. This includes implementing production and backup data security best practices and access control strengthening to mitigate the threat of malware and cyber risks.
Introduced instant recovery and cut restore times - Recovery of large terabyte (TB) sized VM servers in short time is now possible, services are restored in minutes as backup images can be instantly loaded while the full restore smoothly executes in the background. This delivers a seamless experience for thousands of users, across the Group’s entities, who rely on the availability of data and services to carry out their job functions.
Proved 30% more cost- effective than the legacy solution - Instead of basing fees on TB, Veeam pioneered the per-socket licensing model in which costs only grow as the IT environment grows. With the IKK Group’s environment expanding as its business grows, Veeam’s licensing model has proved to be 30% more cost- effective than the previous solution.
By reducing backup and recovery process time, errors and issues, Veeam’s solution allows the IKK Group’s IT team to invest efforts and time into enhancement projects.
With Veeam, it isn’t just their solutions but also their support - you get 24/ 7 support for incidents whenever needed.
Use of machine learning has helped improve the accuracy of transit time predictions by 74%. With Veeam, it isn’t just their solutions but also their support that can boost customer satisfaction, says Mansour.