Clough Group goes public cloud with Veeam

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Clough Group, an Australian engineering and construction company, has deployed Veeam solutions to modernize its IT infrastructure to a more virtualized public cloud model. Veeam helped Clough embark on their digital transformation journey to improve business processes, improve operational efficiency and ensure compliance.

Founded in 1919, Clough is a pioneering engineering and construction company in Australia that provides sustainable assets for the infrastructure, resources and energy industries.

The company provides comprehensive services across the entire value chain of a project, from concept development and detailed design to procurement; manufacturing to construction; and commissioning to support long-term assets.

Key projects Clough has been involved in include the Narrows Bridge, which connects south Perth to north Perth, as well as the Snowy 2.0 Project – the largest energy project launched in New South Wales. The company manages a global workforce of more than 2,000 people from operations centers in Australia, Asia-Pacific, the United Kingdom and North America.

Challenge

With the modernization of the engineering and construction industry, Clough has undergone a significant digital transformation to improve business processes, resulting in a massive increase in the data footprint to be managed.

Strict industry compliance requirements also mean that data assets related to design and documentation must be retained for the life of projects, sometimes up to 30 years. Data protection thus becomes crucial for successful project implementation and business continuity at Clough.

As one of the early adopters of public cloud in the industry, Clough also needed a forward-looking partner who could help them migrate their IT infrastructure to a more virtualized public cloud model.

Results

  • Improves operational efficiency from weeks to minutes with faster recovery time
  • Ensures legal compliance and peace of mind
  • Allows the company to be agile and scalable in approaching new businesses

The commercial challenge

According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, digital transformation in the engineering and construction (E&C) industry can increase productivity by up to 15% and reduce costs by up to 6%. To keep up with the changing industry, Clough Group has embarked on its own journey of digitization to improve business processes.

As an industry leader, Clough has implemented new technologies such as 3D drone modeling to assess the topography of its construction sites, as well as monitor the progress of its projects. New options have also been made available for processes such as equipment quality monitoring.

For example, construction managers can now capture images of equipment and project sites, updating their status accordingly in the project controls lifecycle. These new digital innovations, coupled with the proliferation of smart devices, have generated vast amounts of data, which has been generated not only from application files, but also from different systems.

From 1 GB per day in the past, the team is now looking at 10 to 20 GB of data generated per day. This should continue to grow as Clough continues to innovate and create more data; as well as using data warehousing to help clients improve their decision-making process.

Along with the growth of data, data storage is another important aspect of IT team attention. In the E&C industry, storing historical data and maintaining complete records has been an ongoing challenge.

Companies like Clough must be able to provide designs and documentation for as long as the contract or agreement requires. On average, Clough is responsible for the retention of project data for seven years. In the case of critical infrastructures, the files are sometimes even kept for up to 30 years.

Jing Leong, Head of Integration and Security at Clough, said: “The challenge for us at Clough is to ensure that we retain the data we need for contractual and legal obligations.

“We recognize the value and necessity of data classification, which can help us deal with litigation issues or potential disputes on the construction projects we manage. “

Another key tenet of Clough’s digital transformation is its transition to the public cloud. As one of the industry’s early adopters, Clough realized the benefits of moving to the cloud for business expansion and scalability.

By moving from a physical data center to a more virtualized public cloud environment, Clough was able to venture into new markets such as Mongolia, North America, Canada and the UK, markets where it does not have a physical infrastructure. The public cloud environment also allows for easy scalability of workloads as projects scale up.

Hussain Munir, Head of Security at Clough, said: “We believe the move to the public cloud will help Clough take their data management processes to the next level. With the public cloud, we can easily expand our storage capacity and scale up our projects. The initial entry costs are low and we will only pay for what we store, even as our data footprint continues to grow. “

As part of the move to the cloud, Clough’s legacy software applications that were previously held in legacy data centers can now be consolidated in the cloud. With the growing importance of data as an asset and in its drive to modernize the business, Clough needs a data protection partner who can share the same kind of future direction.

The Veeam solution

Veeam’s fast backup, restore and snapshot capabilities help Clough meet its data protection needs by enabling the group to back up hundreds of virtual servers, applications and databases in a day. The secure and efficient backups offered by Veeam give Clough the confidence to back up files on servers, as well as databases and applications that reside on the server.

Clough was also able to migrate their critical data and applications to the cloud with the help of Veeam. After leaving its old Managed Service Provider (MSP), Veeam successfully helped Clough back up his physical server and restore it to a virtual environment. Because Veeam’s backup is hardware and application independent, it gives Clough the flexibility to easily migrate between different systems.

Clough operates primarily in a Windows environment and recently decided to migrate to Microsoft Azure to streamline their IT deployments. Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery feature, which allowed Clough to migrate a significant number of servers from multiple data centers, ensured that the change took place with minimal downtime.

In addition to saving time, the Instant VM Recovery feature also enabled simultaneous instant recovery of multiple VMs while on the move, and from a legacy VMware environment to a more modern VMware environment.

Hussain Munir, Head of Security at Clough, said: “We like that Veeam is very agile and that we can choose any endpoint or environment we want. Even if we decide to change cloud providers like Azure, AWS or Google, we can restore our backups in any environment, whether virtual or physical. Without being limited to a specific product, our disaster recovery plan is now more robust.

As a project-based company, Clough is directly accountable to customers. It is imperative that he maintains productivity and achieves project milestones through constant communication and collaboration.

Office 365, Clough’s main collaboration tool and repository of work files, is therefore crucial for the business continuity of the company because it allows employees working at different sites and sites to communicate with each other, to access resources. , drawings and provide updates to customers within specified time frames. .

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 eliminates the risk of Clough losing access and control of his Office 365 data by backing up frequently used applications such as Microsoft Teams, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.

The adoption of teams in Clough has been particularly exponential, with employees creating their own teams for collaborative work such as calls and document sharing. Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 version 5, which includes backup and restore specifically designed for Microsoft Teams, was particularly helpful for Clough.

It gives the business complete control and protection of their teams’ data, including entire teams, specific channels and settings.

Previously, Clough could not restore data automatically and had to take several steps to recover the information. Now Clough can use Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Teams to achieve an efficient and automated recovery experience.

Veeam Backup & Replication update v11 is also expected to be a game-changer for Clough. The cloud archive functionality will allow Clough to automatically move old archive data to cheaper storage: the archived tier in Azure. Considering the large amount of archive data available to Clough, this feature should save considerable time and money.

“Veeam’s rapid upgrade and improvement cycles give us confidence that the company is continually improving its product. By emphasizing public cloud functionality, Veeam’s products complement our distance from legacy infrastructure. Our growth plans are in line with updates from Veeam, and a large number of feature updates have directly assisted us in the deployments we have made, ”said Jing Leong, Director of Integration and Security at Clough.

The results

Improves operational efficiency from weeks to minutes

Clough can achieve greater operational efficiency and minimize business downtime as recovery time has been reduced from weeks to minutes.

Manage IT deployments with a consolidated view

Veeam helped Clough seamlessly migrate to Microsoft Azure. Consolidating IT deployments within the Veeam platform makes it easy for the IT team to manage systems.

Ensures legal compliance and peace of mind
With the security of Veeam protection for its archived data, Clough has peace of mind when it comes to meeting its legal and compliance data retention needs.

Allows the company to be agile and scalable in approaching new businesses

The agility offered by Veeam’s cloud portability allows Clough to quickly expand into new markets and build a robust data recovery plan.

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