The business challenge
From components for the automotive industry and aviation to winter sports
equipment, a wide variety of different things are produced with solutions
from the mechanical engineering company, Fill. The company, with its
headquarters in Gurten, is among other things, global number 1 in ski and
snowboard machines. 3.2 million pairs of alpine skis, 800,000 snowboards
and 1.6 million pairs of cross-country skis are produced annually with
machines from the Austrian company. At the same time, every third car
in the world today is equipped with parts produced on fill lines, such as
cylinder heads and body components.
To maintain its position as market and innovation leader in very different
industries and markets around the world, Fill has to continuously evolve
and adapt to customer requirements. A high degree of automation, the
consistent digitalization of production lines and intelligent control systems
which provide the foundation for all its processes are key factors for the
Virtual and physical processes are increasingly merging together in Fill’s
smart manufacturing. This also means that more and more data and
applications must be reliably available around the clock. This was no longer
possible for Fill’s IT organization to manage with internal resources alone.
“We are a special-purpose machine manufacturer, not an IT company,” says
Helmut Wagner, team leader for information technology at Fill. „At some
point, our department reached its limits when it came to data backup.
The configuration of the backup jobs, the administration and maintenance
of the infrastructure and the necessary recovery tests took up more and
more time. In addition, it is simply not possible to guarantee 100 percent
reliability with limited personnel. Even a small mistake can lead to a loss of
data which, in the worst case, can endanger the existence of the company”.
The IT managers at Fill were therefore looking for a suitable Backupas-
a-Service (BaaS) model. The aim was not only to protect the
most important business systems, but also to ensure rapid recovery
of resources in the event of a total failure of the Fill data center.
The company did not want to set up and operate its own outage
data center, but rather to obtain the required server, storage and
network capacities as a flexible service in the event of a disaster.
The Veeam solution
After a market analysis, Fill finally chose the IT service provider
Infotech EDV-Systeme and a Cloud Data Management™ solution
from Veeam. “The overall package from Infotech and Veeam
convinced us from the very beginning,” explains Wagner. “Infotech
combines a great deal of technological know-how with proven
service competence and is also located just a few kilometers from
our headquarters. And Veeam, in our opinion, offers the most
mature solutions for ensuring high availability of physical, virtual
and cloud-based workloads.”
Infotech initially implemented Veeam Backup & Replication™
at Fill to protect the virtualized server infrastructure based
on VMware vSphere. Today, more than 150 virtual machines —
including numerous business-critical applications such as the
ERP system, CAD/CAM software or applications for simulation
and industrial IoT — are automatically backed up with Veeam
technology. Veeam Cloud Connect always transfers copies
of the backup files to the service provider’s data center.
Failed virtual machines can be restarted within minutes directly
from the backup with Instant VM Recovery®. This avoids
interruptions to ongoing production processes. Granular recovery
of individual application objects is also possible. With the Veeam
Explorer™ for Microsoft SQL Server, Infotech can, for example,
reset databases to a specific point in time with transaction
accuracy — extremely helpful for systems that manage important
With the Backup-as-a-Service solution from Infotech and Veeam,
Fill can be sure that its IT resources are reliably backed up at all
times. Veeam’s SureBackup® technology automatically checks the
recoverability of all backed up systems. Infotech also evaluates the
log files and reports of the Veeam solution on a daily basis. In case
of error messages, Fill and Infotech are immediately notified by
e-mail alert. “Responsibilities are clearly defined in this case”, says
Wagner. “Infotech then immediately identifies the cause of the
error and takes care of a solution.”
Together with the service provider, Fill also developed
a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy. The first step was
to define the applications that are absolutely necessary for
production operation. In a realistic disaster recovery test, the
project partners then examined how long it would take to make
all these systems available again in the event of a disaster.
“The result was very revealing for us,” reports Wagner. “The manual recovery
of our most important services took more than 24 hours. However, with
Veeam, we will be able to significantly reduce this figure in the future.”
Fill and Infotech will use Veeam® Availability Orchestrator for optimized
disaster recovery. This solution enables perfect orchestration of IT system
recovery from backups and replicas. Servers are automatically restored
and restarted in the optimal order. Ready-to-use scripts for services such
as Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory or SQL databases accelerate the
recovery of individual applications. In addition, Availability Orchestrator
can also use Instant VM Recovery technology to restart systems directly
from backup files.
“If there is a disruption, we expect all business-critical systems to be up
and running again within 4-5 hours,” estimates the Wagner. “This means that
even in the event of a total failure of our data center, we would be able
to resume production for our customers within a very short time.
The Veeam Availability Orchestrator also offers the possibility of regularly
testing the disaster recovery strategy — without putting a strain on the
production systems. The results of these tests are documented in detail
using the integrated reporting functions. Thus, Fill always has up-to-date
proof in its hands that adequate risk management is in place.
“We are completely satisfied with the backup and disaster recovery
services,” summarizes Wagner. “In the next step we will therefore also back
up our Microsoft Office 365 data with Veeam in the Infotech data center.
In the future we also want to integrate our PCs and notebooks into the
backup service. In this way, we will ensure that the availability of our IT
is consistently protected from the client to the cloud”.
- Reduction of the disaster recovery time to a few hours
Fill anticipates that in the event of a disaster, the recovery of the most
important IT systems would only take four to five hours instead of more
than a day as before. As a result, production operations could be restarted
very quickly, and any potential loss of revenue would be minimized.
- Protection against data loss and interruptions to production processes
All important applications and data — from CAD/CAM software to Office
365 data — are reliably backed up with Veeam’s Cloud Data Management
Platform. Failed virtual machines can be restored within minutes before
production processes at Fill are affected.
- More resources for digital transformation into a smart factory
The BaaS and DRaaS model relieves the IT department of most operational
activities related to backup, restore and disaster recovery planning. This
leaves more time for innovative projects such as Industrial IoT, smart
manufacturing processes and the further digitalization of the business.