The organically grown IT landscape of photonics innovators FISBA was reaching the end of its life as its complexity was causing huge amounts of admin work and was simply no longer up to the job. Leveraging the experience and expertise of Bechtle, FISBA’s IT team analysed the status quo and developed a new, standardised, future-proof IT strategy that was perfectly tailored to the company’s needs.
At one of the leading suppliers in the optics industry, St Gallen-based FISBA in Switzerland, the IT landscape has grown to become a heterogeneous and complex beast over the years. Three environments were in use that worked with three different hypervisor technologies—a newer and older version of VMware and Hyper-V. Several systems were in use to store data, and an earlier plan to switch all environments over to Hyper-V was never seen through, partly because some legacy systems couldn’t be migrated at all, or a migration was not supported by the manufacturers.
On top of all this, the existing hardware was coming to the end of its lifecycle, the IT was no longer up-to-date and the manual work needed to be put in for operating and maintaining the three environments was considerable. Then there was the fact that system stability left a lot to be desired. “My aim was to standardise everything,” explains Tom Roorda, Head of IT at FISBA. “Which technology should we implement? Can we use any parts of our existing infrastructure? Would a cloud solution be a good choice for us?” In short, what was needed was a complete rethink of the IT strategy that would also meet future requirements.
When looking for a new partner to support them in the development of a new IT strategy, FISBA turned to a company they knew they could rely on. Both FISBA and Tom Roorda had already worked successfully with Bechtle in the past. Bechtle was commissioned to carry out an external assessment of the existing IT environment’s architecture and operations and then to develop a new IT concept. In a first step, a workshop was held to discuss the status quo and FISBA’s requirements of their IT: Using this as a foundation, Bechtle were able to make recommendations for the future IT strategy and develop a choice of three different architectures—an on-premise infrastructure with two physical data centres, a hybrid setup with one on-premise data centre and a second in the cloud, as well as a cloud-only solution. FISBA worked closely with Bechtle to evaluate all three options, concluding that a unified on-premise environment offered the greatest benefits in terms of capabilities and TCO. Bechtle’s recommendation was to place a VMware cluster each with three ESXi servers in both of FISBA’s data centres, all managed via vCenter, with the company’s storage needs being covered by a VMware VSAN solution.
“The migration to VMware was an obvious choice from a technical standpoint, and was also a match for the knowledge we possess in house. My colleagues and I have a lot of experience with VMware solutions and continuing to use dual hypervisor technologies was definitely not an option, not least because we didn’t want to have to carry on running backups for two different environments,” explains Tom Roorda. “We were also quickly able to rule out a cloud-only solution because FISBA’s IT has to support diverse production environments with machine controls and robotics and that demands low latency. Plus, we generate enormous amounts of data that would have caused a severe strain on the internet connection if we had gone for a cloud solution.” The final result of the strategy project was a roadmap that illustrated how the jointly developed measures could eventually be implemented.
The Bechtle team’s comprehensive expertise in numerous technologies and cloud services made it possible to develop the perfect IT strategy.
In its new IT infrastructure, FISBA has a budget-friendly, modern, flexible and future-proof setup that can be scaled and extended at will. The company can continue to use their two existing data centres and, in comparison to the old heterogeneous IT landscape, administration will be drastically reduced, complexity kept to a minimum and all previous dependencies removed.