HeidelbergCement is one of the world’s largest building materials companies. With the takeover of the Italian cement producer Italcementi, HeidelbergCement became the number one in aggregates production, number two in cement, and number three in ready-mixed concrete. Over 63,000 employees at more than 3,000 locations in some 60 countries spanning five continents fuel its success. Since 2010, HeidelbergCement has entrusted its data to NetApp solutions, with a focus on centralising and virtualising the system’s structure.
HeidelbergCement was looking for a scalable system to manage its data centrally without any additional hardware. The system was also expected to offer a user-friendly, efficient backup solution. Central data management was important so that employees would only have to access one solution, regardless of where in the world they work. Consistent, future-ready virtualisation was chosen as the means to this end.
“We were impressed with NetApp’s range of software from the start. These tools are extremely easy to use and incredibly reliable. We’re also very pleased with the support provided by Bechtle’s NetApp experts. It has truly been a great experience working with NetApp.”
Dean Gough, Manager RIS EMEA Application Hosting, HeidelbergCement AG
For this solution, Bechtle used multiple NetApp ONTAP clusters with FAS8060 controllers, combined with NetApp’s premium software bundle. These clusters are located in Bechtle’s own main data centre—established in 2010 and located in Germany—which is connected to the data centres in the UK, Texas and Asia. This provides HeidelbergCement with a cluster of storage nodes acting as a unit. In addition, storage capacity and performance is easy to scale up. Bechtle also equipped the data centre with high-availability solutions for SAP, file services, virtual machines, databases, e-mail and more. This gives any number of users from around the world access to data at any time without impacting system performance.
With respect to the backup environment, Bechtle implemented various NearStores for daily shapshot-based backups using SnapVault. These NearStore systems also create a weekly tape backup. Bechtle was able to lower storage requirements for both HeidelbergCement’s MS SQL Server and Oracle databases and the SAP application through thin provisioning—one of the benefits of virtualisation.
To ensure multiple storage locations, data is asynchronously replicated between production and main data centres (which are located between 40 and 100 km apart) via SnapMirror. As a result, data is always kept up to date without incurring excessive costs.
The chosen NetApp products enabled Bechtle to significantly improve RTO (Recovery Time Objective), RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and other service parameters. This shortens the time from when a system goes down to when data is once again available. While the service level agreement (SLA) used to guarantee 72 hours, HeidelbergCement can now restore its business processes within just four hours. Asynchronous replication has cut the period between two backups from four hours to 30 minutes, which also lowers the associated tolerable data loss.
Data deduplication and thin provisioning now provides up to 80% more available storage capacity, eliminating the need to expand storage in the near future and thereby lowering IT costs. In the end, HeidelbergCement received centralised access to all data with an efficient backup solution at work in the background—guaranteeing that data is available at all times to HeidelbergCement locations around the globe.