The IT infrastructure of the rapidly growing family-run company, Erbo Group, and its Logistics, Pet and Spraytec divisions was no longer able to keep up with the increasing demands of digitalisation, security and compliance. In close collaboration with their long-term IT partner, Bechtle, the Erbo Group designed and put together a future-proof, highly-available and secure IT solution with a hyperconverged infrastructure with HPE SimpliVity at its heart, and integrated public cloud services such as Microsoft 365.
«Our aim was to bring our IT right up-to-date and to build a state-of-the-art infrastructure to see us into the future,» explains Erbo Group CIO Livio Mutter. The company, which is active in the areas of Logistics, Pet and Spraytec, was using IT that no longer met the demands digitalisation was placing on performance, capacity and security. The company’s core business, logistics, offers services in the areas of transport logistics, warehousing, order picking, packing, as well as the processing of products and requires high availability as the lorries can’t be sent on their way if the IT isn’t working seamlessly. The same is true of picking, which cannot be affected by downtimes. In short, the Erbo Group wanted to modernise their IT so that their proven application scenarios would continue to work smoothly for the some 100 users into the future, and the Group’s servers, which were still running Microsoft Windows Server 2012, and storage infrastructure that was under pressure due to the company’s growth, were not able to make that happen. Furthermore, a new building had been constructed that required the network to be extended.
The complete overhaul of the Erbo Group’s IT was carried out as several sub-projects. The first step was to update the Citrix environment as Livio Mutter explains. “This forms the basis for using applications and enabled us to roll out Microsoft Teams in the shortest possible time and optimally support employees while they worked from home—an essential tool in these COVID times. With the introduction of Microsoft 365 E3 and the associated integration of Azure AD, the Erbo Group were leveraging a hybrid cloud approach.
At the core of the new hardware is a hyperconverged infrastructure based on HPE SimpliVity with two SimpliVity 380 nodes and a net storage capacity of around 7.5 TB. An HPE DL380 Gen10 server and a StoreEver LT08 library handle backups and utilise Veeam software. Cisco FirePOWER firewalls and network components such as HPE Aruba switches have been integrated into the newly built network.
With meticulous project planning, migration to the hyperconverged infrastructure was completed without a hitch. For the design, planning and implementation of the multifaceted project, the Erbo Group turned to their reliable partner. The company has been working for close to ten years with Bechtle on IT projects and operations, as the CIO explains. «We’ve always worked very well together not least because of the mutual trust we have in each other. Communication is always honest and transparent and there was no reason to commission another partner for this project.»
The basic design was worked out in joint workshops, which Bechtle then used to put together a detailed potential solution including project plan and milestones before it was entrusted with project management and implementation. Breaking the project down into several sub-projects enabled daily business to continue without unnecessary interruptions, waiting times or general inconvenience. As Livio Mutter explains, the schedule could, for the most part, be kept to.
Our long-standing partnership with Bechtle stood us in good stead to design and build state-of-the-art IT that is fit for the future and we are more than happy with both the solution and our collaboration.
The new solution has given the Erbo Group a future-proof, scalable and highly-available IT infrastructure with the highest levels of security and up-to-date technology. Maintenance has been made significantly easier through redundant elements, which means it can be carried out without disrupting operations. Integrating public cloud services like Microsoft 365 has made it possible for employees to work from home during the pandemic and stay in contact with little effort. In addition, migrating to Windows 10 has increased the flexibility of end devices and today, thin and fat clients are both easy to manage. The fully overhauled IT also meets all compliance requirements including standards demanded by auditing companies.