The business challenge
From a family business to a world market leader: JOST has written an impressive success story since its foundation in 1952. A small forge for ball races based in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt has become one of the most important suppliers to the international commercial vehicle industry. Today, JOST is the world’s leading supplier of fifth wheel couplings and landing gear.
In addition, the company supplies a large number of other safety-relevant systems for trucks and trailers. If goods are transported by road somewhere in the world, it is highly likely that vehicle components from JOST are involved. In recent years, the company has also increased its activities in the agricultural sector and has been able to establish itself as a reliable solution provider in this growth market as well.
The five brands of the JOST Group - JOST, ROCKINGER, TRIDEC, Edbro and Quicke - are valued in the industry for their quality and continuous innovation. With a global sales network and production facilities in more than 20 countries on five continents, JOST has direct access to all major commercial vehicle manufacturers and all relevant end customers.
“The demands that the automotive industry has placed on its suppliers have increased continuously in recent years,” says Martin Frischkorn, Team Manager IT at JOST. “In order to continue to be successful in the future, we need to be close to our customers and react quickly to individual requirements on the one hand - but on the other hand, we must meet the highest quality standards in all areas. Today, our IT is facing the same challenges”.
JOST’s IT organization is centrally located and controls all global IT activities from its headquarters in Neu-Isenburg. In recent years, processes and technologies have been consistently standardized and more and more data and systems have been consolidated in the central data center.
However, the production sites in particular, also require certain IT systems on site for their daily work. In addition to infrastructure services such as domain controllers, file and print servers, applications such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, CAD software and systems for production control are also operated locally. If these business-critical workloads were to fail, on-site production would very quickly come to a standstill - and customer orders could not be completed on time.
To minimize potential risks to the business, JOST decided to enhance its backup strategy. The company had previously used Backup Exec software for data protection. “However, the solution was not designed for backing up virtual resources, and managing the local installations in the individual branch offices was a lot of work,” says Frischkorn. “Data was cumbersomely backed up to tape and restoring systems sometimes took several days. In addition, we were dependent on external service providers to handle the tapes and could not manage the backup processes centrally”. JOST was therefore looking for a holistic solution for the backup and recovery of globally operated IT workloads.
The Veeam solution
“After a market survey, we decided to deploy Veeam Availability Suite because the solution best meets our business requirements,” says the IT Team Manager. “Veeam provides us with maximum IT availability for our global production and sales processes while helping us to meet the strict security requirements of our customers in the commercial vehicle industry”.
Step by step, JOST implemented the Veeam solution as a central platform for the backup and recovery of IT resources. In the data center, the solution ensures high availability of the almost completely virtualized infrastructure based on Microsoft Hyper-V. Today, around 300 virtual machines with a total volume of around 250 terabytes are backed up with Veeam® Availability Suite™ on a HPE StoreOnce system. “We can now restart failed virtual machines within minutes from the backup”, Frischkorn reports. “We are thus able to maintain very short response times to meet the requirements of SLAs”.
All data is also copied to a second location and stored there for the long term. For its disaster recovery strategy, JOST uses Veeam’s replication technology. Replicas of all important systems are kept at the second location and could be booted up in a very short time to ensure smooth business operations even in the event of a failure of the primary data center.
All of JOST’s international locations are also integrated into the new backup strategy. The Veeam solution not only protects the virtual servers on site, but also physical systems. “This includes terminals in production lines, for example, which are needed to control our machines,” explains Frischkorn. “These systems are crucial for smooth just-in-time production. Even if a terminal in Australia should fail today, we can make the system available again very quickly with Veeam”
The data backed up in the branch offices is also copied to the JOST data center via backup copy job. The company benefits from the Veeam WAN Accelerator for data transfer over the WAN: “By combining deduplication and compression, this technology reduces bandwidth requirements by more than half,” says Frischkorn. “This allows us to handle data backup with the existing lines and saves us investment in additional bandwidth”.
All backup and recovery processes in the branch offices can now be centrally controlled via Veeam Availability Suite. Certain recovery tasks are still performed by the support staff on site - but in the event of major problems, the specialists in Neu-Isenburg take over. “One conceivable scenario, for example, is a ransomware attack on one of our international production sites,” says Frischkorn. “With the Veeam solution, we could react very quickly in this case and restore the required systems from our central backup repository. Our backup data is completely protected against ransomware, and the solution architecture also prevents malware from spreading to other sites. This strengthens the resilience of our entire IT environment”.
JOST’s new backup strategy also includes cloud resources. The Office 365 data of around 2,000 users is now backed up with Veeam® Backup for Microsoft Office 365. The solution stores all content generated in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in JOST’s on-premises infrastructure. This means that data is permanently accessible, very quickly searchable and protected from accidental data loss in the Microsoft cloud.
“The Veeam solution gives us full control over the security and availability of our global data - regardless of whether it is located in virtual, physical or cloud-based environments,” summarizes Frischkorn. “However, we use the solution not only to minimize risks for our business processes - but also to accelerate the introduction of new technologies. Veeam’s data management capabilities are extremely helpful for the rapid deployment of test systems and smooth software migrations”.
- Recovery in minutes instead of hours or days:
With the Veeam solution, JOST achieves higher IT availability at all sales and production locations. Virtual IT resources, physical systems and cloud-based content can be restored in the shortest possible time if required. In this way, JOST ensures continuous business operations in every situation.
- Higher resilience to cyber risks:
In the event of a ransomware attack, JOST could react very quickly and make the affected systems available again in the shortest possible time. Veeam ensures that all backup data is protected against encryption by malware.
- Reliable adherence to compliance requirements:
With the Veeam solution, JOST has a complete overview of the status and availability of its global IT. The company can prove to customers at any time that data has been correctly backed up and that systems can be quickly restored in the event of a failure. Veeam’s reporting functions facilitate documentation for internal and external audits.