Fendt-Caravan – Driving innovation with a new server/storage infrastructure.

For over 50 years, Fendt-Caravan GmbH has been making travel dreams come true. Located in Bavaria, the company is the second largest caravan manufacturer in Europe, producing approx. 10,000 caravans every year at its Mertingen factory. The company’s products and innovations have received several awards and are backed by a future-oriented IT infrastructure with CAD applications, a terminal server farm, Oracle database server and desktop virtualisation. With HPE Synergy composable infrastructure and HPE Nimble, Bechtle were able to make this infrastructure fit for the future.

Project details.

  • Virtualisation
  • Server & Storage
  • Manufacturing
  • HPE, VMware
  • 250–1,500 employees

Challenge.

Fendt-Caravan’s success is characterised by an understanding of true added value and the Bavarian company has been building quality campervans and caravans since 1970. Fendt-Caravan GmbH’s innovations and consistent product developments have won numerous awards, including the renowned European lnnovation Award, and the company has also come top in recent customer awards presented by leading trade magazines to name but two milestones in the success story of Europe’s second largest caravan manufacturer. This is all driven by the company’s high quality expectations—from the design phase to selecting materials and suppliers—and the server and storage infrastructure is also expected to fulfil these requirements. At Fendt-Caravan GmbH, the employees work with editing and CAD software, production applications, the Office environment for e-mail communication and the ERP application. For this to be possible, the IT must be stable, performant and secure. As manufacturer support for the company’s existing solution was coming to an end, the time had come to make a change. Fendt-Caravan GmbH was therefore looking for a technological solution for both data centres in Mertingen as well as a concept for a redesign of the server infrastructure that had to be high-performing, highly available and scalable, and allow for the management of storage requirements.


From a technical point of view, we wanted to have an up-to-date server and storage infrastructure, and Bechtle introduced us to HPE Synergy technologies, which allowed us to virtually run and centrally manage the applications we had in mind. With HPE Nimble Storage, we have data storage that thinks for itself thanks to advanced AI. Of particular note is the fact that our Bechtle contact was always on hand to offer support, even during the difficult times of coronavirus, doing everything possible to ensure that this complex and extensive project didn’t get stuck in a rut.

Stephan Anlauf, Head of EDV/Organisation, Fendt-Caravan GmbH


Solution.

To fulfil the wishes of Fendt-Caravan GmbH, a concept was put together that saw the existing HPE server and storage hardware being partially supplemented with an HPE Synergy infrastructure. In workshops with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Fendt-Caravan GmbH and Bechtle and Bechtle web sessions, a plan tailored to the manufacturer’s needs was put together, which also provided for knowledge transfer from Bechtle to Fendt-Caravan GmbH. The HPE servers proved that they were more than suitable for running the virtual environment with VMware vCenter Server Standard for vSphere and the provisioning of around 120 HP thin clients via a Citrix server farm. In the HPE Synergy 12000 Frames implemented by Bechtle, Fendt-Caravan GmbH can even combine IT, storage and network resources with intelligent features and security functions. The HPE Synergy Server’s composable infrastructure with Virtual Connect Fibre Channel provides a resource pool that can be flexibly used and dynamically combined. In addition, an Oracle Enterprise RAC is run on the new platform. Leveraging NVIDIA vGPUs (virtual GPUs) and NVIDIA Quadro vDWS licences, Fendt-Caravan GmbH can also access powerful, virtualised graphics processors for graphic-rich applications.

The next step has already been planned and will see the migration of the terminal server environment to additional Synergy compute modules with NVIDIA GRID technology. To ensure that the virtualised applications run quickly in the clients and that the data are secure, Bechtle implemented an HPE Nimble Storage AF40 6+ All Flash platform as a SAN storage infrastructure that uses flash storage. Thanks to Nimble Infosight AI software, it can also carry out predictive analyses in order to quickly and reliably access data. Together with the proactive HPE services ordered such as the “Phone Home” functionality (server, data storage and network devices send service requests directly to HPE) and the HPE Nimble 4H Parts Exchange Support, Fendt-Caravan GmbH has 24/7 support for five years, during which time the company can contact HPE via phone, e-mail or via the web. HPE has also provided the company with an Account Support Manager.

Business benefits.

In HPE Synergy, Fendt-Caravan GmbH has a software-defined composable infrastructure that is high-performing, scalable and flexible. The HPE Nimble Storage AF40 All Flash platform installed by Bechtle ensures that data are secure and always available. Bechtle implemented the new infrastructure efficiently and flexibly so that Fendt-Caravan GmbH’s IT environment is now both efficient and future-oriented.