Giving IT managers the chance to switch off on holiday – a complex IT infrastructure made easy.
"Always on", even when on holiday – this is now a thing of the past for IT manager Andreas Nickel from Applied Chemicals (ACAT) thanks to the excellent collaboration with the Bechtle IT System House Austria. The keen sailor is now able to enjoy a break lasting several weeks far away from any mobile reception and Internet.
The requirements and the IT infrastructure of the medium-sized company in the chemical service sector are exceptionally complex. Andreas Nikel has sole responsibility for managing everything; the IT specialist is only able to fall back on the assistance of untrained colleagues for simple routine tasks. He has therefore been relying on Bechtle IT System House Austria for planning and implementing the heterogeneous IT landscape for years. "On the one hand, Bechtle has the expertise and manpower to deal with all of our problems from a single source, but it also provides personal and constant support from stable, long-standing expert teams. This is exactly what a medium-sized company like ACAT needs, because with the support of Bechtle, it is possible for a single person to manage a complex infrastructure technically."
In order for Andreas Nikel to be able to enjoy his holiday in peace, he developed a procedure together with Bechtle for him to be able to seamlessly hand over all of his duties. The core of the plan is an encrypted laptop which contains all documentation, including all IP addresses and passwords, and which is stored in Bechtle's safe. System alarms are sent centrally via a mailbox, meaning that Bechtle employees (who know every detail of ACAT's infrastructure) can intervene directly if required. "Since this substitution method has worked exceptionally in the past, even in serious cases, I have now been given the go-ahead to take up to six weeks holiday in one go for a sailing trip – that would have been unthinkable in the past," tells Andreas Nikel enthusiastically.
About Applied Chemicals (ACAT).
The ACAT Group is one of only a few independent private companies in the chemical service sector in Europe. ACAT has cross-country divisional structures for managing the operative business. The specialist for chemical applications in the fields of environmental technology, industrial chemicals and the paper industry therefore assists its customers using its international expertise and local experience, and provides flexible and customised solutions. In the photo: Andreas Nikel, IT manager, ACAT
On the one hand, Bechtle has the expertise and manpower to deal with all of our problems from a single source, but it also provides personal and constant support from stable, long-standing expert teams.
Andreas Nikel, IT manager, Applied Chemicals
One-stop shop preferred.
The entire IT infrastructure was recently completed replaced with HPE servers, DataCore storage virtualisation, virtualisation with VMware and a 10 gigabit iSCSI network using HPE FlexFabric switches – all of which was delivered and installed by Bechtle. The WiFi system is currently being replaced with Cisco Aironet technology.
The specialist for chemical applications in the environmental technology, industrial chemical and paper industry sectors has to maintain the high security standards in the industry. IT security is ensured using Symantec Endpoint Protection and Cisco Ironport. Veeam is used for backing up various internal and remote storage systems, including tape backup. Andreas Nikel – "Bechtle supports ACAT in all areas of IT, including software licence management. Without the specialised expertise of an external partner who reliably oversees all aspects, I would no longer be able work efficiently. With the specialists from Bechtle, this works excellently.
Keeping software rollouts flexible.
ACAT Austria, which has its head offices in Vienna, also has subsidiaries in Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, South Africa, as well as production facilities in Scheibbs in Lower Austria. "The decentralisation of our company structure presents one of the largest challenges," explains Andreas Nikel. Many employees work almost exclusively from home and rarely come into the office. It must be possible to control system updates and patch management centrally, as well as flexibly, because employees on site should have the opportunity to intervene. "If, for example, an employee in China is working with an expensive and restricted Internet connection, they must be able to skip an update." Solutions from Ivanti are used in the case of international software rollouts for Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, the telephony software and the Windows operating system. "The administrative time and expense and error rate have reduced significantly as a result," tells Andreas Nikel. "Bechtle has developed creative solutions for our special requirements."
"The administrative time and expense and error rate have reduced significantly as a result."
Andreas Nikel, IT manager, Applied Chemicals
Exchange migration with impact.
The latest major project was an exchange migration where Bechtle also carried out all preparatory work, such as decommissioning old domain controllers, re-implementing certificate services in accordance with Microsoft's best practice recommendation, as well as updating the Veritas Enterprise Vault mail archive system. In this context, both Citrix XenMobile as a mobile device management (MDM) solution and the Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA) have been updated. "Even if it was 'just' an exchange migration, a lot of elements were involved," explains Andreas Nikel. "The multi-vendor expertise of Bechtle was very important in this project."