When Paul Vahle built his very first conductor rail in 1912, he laid the foundation of what has since grown to become the VAHLE Group, now looking back on a history spanning over 100 years and selling mobile industrial applications in no less than 52 countries. Products made by the family business in Kamen, north-western Germany, are a staple in crane technology, intralogistics, automotive engineering, port technology, passenger transport and amusement rides. A new Citrix environment has not just propelled VAHLE-made energy and data transfer systems into the mobile age, but also the company itself.
A renowned industrial innovator around the world, the VAHLE Group has more than 750 employees, some 630 of which are based at the company’s German sites in Kamen and Dortmund. Together, they develop and manufacture innovative products and solutions from power rails to advanced, contactless energy transmission systems. VAHLE is a hidden champion enterprise that embraces progressive methods and invests in future-driven technologies to support its employees. When the company’s server and storage architecture at its German sites was due for a refresh, and Windows 7 was about to breathe its last—all to coincide with planning for a new office building—VAHLE wanted to use the opportunity to modernise the employee experience, too, with future-facing hardware running future-facing apps. Since managing more than 600 seats by hand is quite a chore, VAHLE was also looking to centralise administration. Rolling out a new OS the old way simply did not seem a feasible choice. And there was also work to be done in the overall IT landscape to create a solid foundation for the new environment.
It started out as a project to overhaul VAHLE’s server environment. While working on a concept with Bechtle, however, it soon became clear that VAHLE’s entire IT landscape had to be remodelled to be ready for the things to come over the next ten years. Together with Bechtle, VAHLE made the choice for a solution featuring Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Nimble Storage and modern HPE servers to make it fast, secure and scalable—and of course easy to manage. What’s more, HPE Nimble Storage is very much ready for the cloud.
Once VAHLE’s data centre was spick and span with unified HPE hardware, the client environment was next on the list. Streamlined client management was the top priority.
The right machines were quickly identified to be Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Tiny series. Existing clients are run by VAHLE using IGEL DU Pocket thumb drives with a dual-boot system that enables PCs within the company’s LAN to be turned into fully-fledged, universal desktop endpoints for Citrix. This makes it ideal not just for VAHLE’s legacy desktop machines, but also for a great variety of BYOD scenarios. Remote and field employees can simply connect to the company LAN via VPN and use a workspace app on their end devices. VAHLE’s data remains secure at all times. Even when it travels to the remotest corners of the globe, it still resides either in the company’s on-premise data centre or—through Microsoft Office 365—in the Microsoft Cloud. Veeam Backup & Replication ensures reliable, policy-based backups and asynchronous replication, via a central, flexible console that also enables fast recovery of applications and data if this becomes necessary.
The overhauled server and storage landscape, modern software, and the new Citrix environment enable VAHLE’s employees to access all their applications whenever, wherever, including Office 365, SAP (through a client on the Citrix server), and OneDrive. VAHLE’s IT staff was briefed by Bechtle and is now able to perform centralised software rollouts and focus on managing the IT environment. To put it in a nutshell, Bechtle helped VAHLE let the future in.