When a storage solution is reaching its limits and the entire setup needs a rethink, it’s a good idea to seek out some advice. Especially when IT performance is suffering badly. To strengthen the Esterhazy Group’s IT backbone for the long-term, experts from Bechtle Austria implemented an innovative software-defined storage during ongoing operations.
ESTERHAZY IT—the digital heart of the Esterhazy Group located in Burgenland, Austria—were dealing with the problem that their then storage infrastructure was struggling to keep up with what the large and proliferate model company was asking of it. Simply carrying on with the previous concept was out of the question. A few improvements weren’t enough. What was needed was a complete upgrade to the next storage class up and a major effort in terms of organisation and budget. On top of this was the fact that admins would probably be faced with exactly the same issue in a few years thanks to the rapidly growing Esterhazy.
Led by managing director Dr Stefan Ottrubay, the Esterhazy Group is characterised by its diversity and is split into four segments—Pannatura, property, tourism, culture and events, and the Esterhazy winery. In addition to the preservation of Esterházy Castle, Forchtenstein Castle and many other historical buildings and monuments, Esterhazy is also responsible for cultural and musical events such as opera performances in the St. Margarethen Quarry (left) and the Autumn Gold Festival in Eisenstadt.
Compared with the centuries old properties, Esterhazy IT is a relatively new kid on the block at Esterhazy Betriebe GmbH. Set up in 2000, the in-house IT department is responsible for all things digital within the group and is involved in many strategic projects and planning processes. Stefan Deutsch has been has been heading up the department for two years. One of the first challenges he was faced with was overhauling the IT storage system, which had reached its end of life. In view of the IT architecture’s importance, the IT manager took special care when it came to planning because this wasn’t about simply upgrading the storage system, but also about integrating the entire IT infrastructure including its security and backup systems.
ESTERHAZY CORPORATE GROUP
Esterhazy has been an important economic force in the Pannonian region for four centuries. The four corporate segments—Pannatura, property, tourism, culture and events, and the Esterhazy winery—are largely managed locally. The Esterhazy Betriebe GmbH management company provides each segment with central services such as financing, HR, IT, legal advice and corporate communications. The group is headed up by the Esterhazy Betriebe GmbH management and, at the highest level, by the Executive Boards of the trusts.
The Bechtle team was fantastic and the fact that they were able to work together with our staff to implement an upgrade without causing any downtime is remarkable.
Ing. Stefan Deutsch, Head of IT, Esterhazy Betriebe GmbH
After analysing the status quo, Stefan Deutsch got in touch with several providers, each of whom demonstrated their respective hardware and software approaches. Each company then worked with Esterhazy to develop a concept, which was then reviewed by an external consultant. After a successful presentation to the Executive Board, the contract was awarded to the Bechtle IT Systems Integrator Austria, which had impressed with its Datacore storage virtualisation solution. “We selected Bechtle and the Datacore system because we wanted to be vendor-neutral, high-performing and have SAN virtualisation, and that’s what we got with Datacore”, explains the head of IT.
Smart solution – Skilfully integrated. Key aspects of Bechtle’s technical concept that goes far beyond flexible, scalable storage, include high-performance SAN virtualisation, fibre channel connections to all Esterhazy locations and branch offices, as well as redundancy and IT security all the way down to the mobile devices. In addition, the new production environment behind the Datacore storage solution has no dependencies on the hardware used. The software-defined storage is based on storage systems from different vendors and can be scaled flexibly and innovatively as needed.
The close collaboration between the project partners enables a seamless implementation under extraordinary conditions. The big switch over took place in the summer of 2019—Esterhazy’s busiest season for events—without any maintenance windows and with the knowledge that any interruptions would lead to massive disruption to operations.
However, thanks to professional planning, productivity at Esterhazy was in no way compromised and the upgrade went smoothly from start to finish with the switch over going completely unnoticed by employees. What didn’t go unnoticed, however, was the significant improvement in application performance. “The colleagues were very grateful which we ere of course delighted about”, says Stefan Deutsch.
The successful upgrade to a new IT infrastructure played a pivotal role in Esterhazy signing a managed services contract with Bechtle, which sees the system house’s IT experts tackling maintenance and troubleshooting of core systems. Here, too, the benefit of the services being flexibly adaptable to the customer’s needs is keenly felt.
Moreover, Aytac Akbulut, Solution Architect and long-time Bechtle support staff member, assumes the role of Trusted Advisor at Esterhazy. “We greatly appreciate Bechtle’s knowledge of the market and project experience, which is why Mr Akbulut’s expertise and know-how is worth its weight in gold for us”, says Stefan Deutsch. The IT head’s aim is to stay ahead of the game in terms of IT development in light of Esterhazy’s rapid growth, in order to find innovative ways to support the company and its users. One important milestone has already been reached. “Everyone is very optimistic.”
Account Managerin, Bechtle IT-Systemhaus Österreich
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