Businesses need to adapt to change quickly and therefore turn to virtualisation and cloud technologies to improve efficiency, reduce complexity, and drive down cost.
With its unified, pre-designed, and pre-tested data centre solution FlexPod, Cisco and NetApp help joint customers to accelerate and simplify the way to a service-based IT model. More and more customers such as EGGER rely on this solution to support business growth and respond to new challenges.
EGGER’s business maxim “think globally and act locally” matters in IT as well. Data centre manager Matthias Haidekker is an early adopter of virtualisation on all levels. By moving to a FlexPod solution as the core infrastructure stack, Haidekker is now able to run all Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP applications fully virtualised within a centralised IT environment and deliver them via Citrix solutions.
EGGER operates 17 plants in Austria, France, Germany, Romania, Russia, Turkey and the UK and has over 20 sales offices worldwide accompanied by an international partner network. Based in St. Johann in Tyrol (Austria), the family-run supplier of solid wood and wood-based materials employs 6 500 staff with about 1,8-billion Euros revenue for FY2010/11.
“FlexPod truly enables a service-oriented IT model and complements our centralised IT set up. We can quickly meet new business requirements and serve all our users throughout Europe – whatever data they need. Without FlexPod we couldn’t deliver at today’s high service and efficiency levels as well as provide broad application support,” says Haidekker.
Growing in its core markets, EGGER’s IT organisation needs to integrate new plants and additional users at fast pace. Their latest acquisition in Gagarin, Russia, brought 500 more employees on board.
EGGER deploys SAP ECC 6.0, SAP NetWeaver 7.1, alongside SAP modules such as CRM, BI, MII, and Solution Manager and maps all its sites within the SAP landscape supporting 2 000 concurrent users.
SAP Business Warehouse has about 700 concurrent users. As the FlexPod solution is certified for SAP it was a perfect fit to migrate the landscape as well and decommission the existing SAN.
“A great benefit is NetApp’s deep integration with SAP and Oracle solutions which helps to automate and accelerate data protection. Backing up and restoring two terabytes of data within 20 minutes is just tremendous,” states Haidekker.
Since EGGER has migrated the SAN data onto the FlexPod, there is no more a need for stand-by admin resources to work during nights and weekends to enhance disk capacity to avoid business disruption: FlexPod volumes adapt their sizes flexibly as needed.
This is just one example of how FlexPod data management releases the administrative burden for EGGER’s team of four handling the infrastructure.
“FlexPod was the most intriguing concept,” says Haidekker. “It includes not only proven NetApp virtualisation, snapshot data protection, and other features, but also Cisco’s easy scalability, stateless computing and flexible operations and integrates with VMware tools to simplify administration.
“Overall, its seamless virtualisation and mobility capabilities support always-on business processes. The co-operative support model from Cisco, NetApp, and VMware was decisive, as it provides help right away, no matter whose component causes a case.
“By simplifying data centre infrastructure with an architectural approach that unifies compute, fabric, and storage technologies, organisations gain transparency and visibility across their data centres and break down the traditional silos in an IT infrastructure.
“Egger’s deployment of FlexPod is a great example of how companies can use network-based technology to move effectively to a service-orientated model, allowing the IT department to be significantly more agile and responsive to the needs of the business,” says Wendy Mars, director, data centre and unified computing system, Cisco.
“The beauty of the FlexPod concept is its versatility. Today, we offer more than 13 design guides shaped for a range of mission critical business applications as well as server and desktop virtualisation enabling cloud infrastructures.
“Customers such as EGGER can easily combine what suits their needs best and benefit from joint vendor support,” says John Rollason, senior manager product and solutions alliances EMEA, NetApp.
EGGER’s move to a FlexPod data centre solution resulted from a major update of the storage, backup, server and network infrastructure in 2011:
* Standardise existing storage, a NetApp unified architecture for Microsoft business applications and archiving and a legacy HP storage area network (SAN) for SAP on Oracle database 10g;
* Deploy NFS as the network protocol standard;
* Upgrade to 10Gb network performance;
* Renew blade server infrastructure;
* Replace tape backup by backup to disk and replication; and
* Build a second data centre and evolve disaster recovery to business continuity.
The solution in place includes a NetApp FAS6210 MetroCluster configuration with 650Tb (gross) and integrated data management, Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers with stateless computing and Cisco Nexus switches, combined with VMware virtualisation products.
Direct NFS (dNFS) as the network protocol boosted performance for databases and virtual machines by 100%.