ODTH prides itself on delivering innovative logistics services to customers. The company also offers a robotized warehouse staging system — the Magic Black Box — that combines elevators, shuttles, and storage channels to handle up to 1,872 pallets and prepare up to 52 customer loads simultaneously.
“Technology is a vital element in our industry, and a point of competitive differentiation for our organization,” said Stephan Janssen, ICT Manager, ODTH First Class Logistics. “Our long-standing customers rely on ODTH for safe and trustworthy storage, for fast and efficient handling and for added-value services across increasingly complex multimodal chains.
All of this increases our dependency on the smooth and reliable operation of our IT systems.”
Every day, ODTH handles the shipping and receiving of more than 60 containers and 215 trucks, and its warehouse teams pick more than 50,000 boxes (cases) on behalf of customers. To support its customers in making reliable, up-to-the-minute deliveries to their customers in turn, ODTH runs a range of critical systems, including the SAP S/4HANA suite of ERP applications.
“In a world of just-in-time processes and live consignment tracking, our customers have zero tolerance for service interruptions,” said Stephan Janssen. “If a supporting system were to go down unexpectedly, it would have both an immediate and a downstream impact, because we would need to catch up on missed activities as well as handling new ones.”
ODTH has used Veeam® technology to protect its business-critical data and systems for more than a decade.
“We first chose Veeam when we started out with VMware virtualization, and although we keep a close eye on the market, we’ve never had a reason to move off that path,” said Stephan Janssen. “Lifecycle-wise, it’s been very easy to manage the software through updates and upgrades, and we’ve always been able to add capacity as our needs grow, getting more throughput in every backup cycle.”
Today, ODTH uses Veeam Backup & Replication™ across seven physical servers, five in its production data center and two in a disaster recovery (DR) site. The Veeam technology protects approximately 80 virtual servers: instances of Windows Server 2019 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as a large Red Hat Enterprise Linux landscape supporting ODTH’s new SAP
“We follow Veeam’s recommended 3-2-1-1-0 Rule: there are at least three copies of critical systems, including two backups, on different media, at least one of which is stored off-site and oftine,” said Stephan Janssen. “In addition to the cross-site replication performed by Veeam, we often use clustering to protect the most critical systems. For example, we have two SAP HANA databases in an active-active cluster in our main data center, and then Veeam replicates the data to the second data center, where it is also backed up.”
ODTH employs a wide variety of backup strategies based on the criticality and usage profile of each system it protects. In some cases, workloads are backed up and also replicated to the second data center every 15 minutes. For less critical systems, the frequency may drop to every two or four hours. For systems like the security camera network, where there are rarely significant changes, a weekly backup suffices.
The company is currently building and testing an application-specific backup for SAP S/4HANA that will enable point-in-time recovery while ensuring application consistency. The process involves freezing the in-memory SAP HANA database, committing the data to disk and then performing the backup.
“Every application has its own dynamics, and Veeam makes it easy to set up the appropriate backup regime,” said Stephan Janssen. “Whether it’s a system like SAP, where every second counts, or something more static and less critical, Veeam handles it all. And, as we consider our future around the cloud, it’s great to see that Veeam is ready to support a hybrid or full-cloud environment.”