The business challenge
Mohawk, which Unilin is a part of, is the global flooring leader. Manufacturing facilities worldwide produce ceramic tile, carpet, rugs, laminate, wood, sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tile for sale in 170 countries. Manufacturing, like most operations at Mohawk, is vertically integrated, enabling the company to control every step of the process. Vertical integration reduces lead times, controls quality requirements and helps keep costs low.
Vertically integrated manufacturing benefits Mohawk’s business in multiple ways. It allows the company to extend continuous process improvements and advanced technologies including automation across facilities quickly. It also allows the company to strategically shutter high-cost assets and shift production to newer, more advanced facilities. With today’s technology, Mohawk can effectively deliver the same capacity as 10 years ago, but with a manufacturing footprint a fraction of the size, creating additional operational efficiencies.
Warehouse management contributes tremendously to operational efficiency. Unilin uses two systems: SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) and Locus Warehouse Management System (WMS).
“Our challenge is making sure our IT systems are available all of the time,” said Jo Desplenter, infrastructure solutions manager, global IS, Mohawk International Services, a division of Mohawk that provides IT services for the Flooring Rest of World business unit (of which Unilin is a part). “Data protection with our legacy backup solution was unreliable and extremely time-consuming, putting our systems at indirect risk. If for instance our warehouse management systems aren’t protected and fully available, we would be in serious trouble. We might lose visibility into the supply chain, which could slow down or even stop manufacturing — potentially costing the company millions of dollars in downtime. If we lost data in our warehouse management systems, we’d struggle to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).”
Desplenter said he and his colleagues spent six months working directly with their vendor’s technical support team to resolve unreliable backup, replication and recovery with the legacy solution, but every workaround failed or prove to be insufficient. Since IT failure isn’t an option, they sought a replacement. They tested Veeam Backup & Replication first.
“We were in the middle of proof-of-concept testing with Veeam when we had an urgent request from a member of the executive team,” Desplenter said. “He needed us to restore a corrupted file fast, but our legacy solution wasn’t cooperating. Our backup administrator was growing more and more frustrated, so he tried using Veeam to restore the file. It took 30 seconds. Veeam accomplished in 30 seconds what our legacy solution had failed to accomplish, even after help from the vendor’s technical support team for six months. Veeam recovery is amazing, so our next thought was ‘We have to extend fast, simple recovery to Microsoft Azure.’”
The Veeam solution
Unilin replaced the legacy solution with Veeam to ensure critical business systems are available nonstop and can be quickly restored in case of a disaster. Veeam dramatically simplifies and reduces backup management time, freeing up one full-time employee to standardize IT processes for companies acquired by Mohawk. Veeam also makes compliance with SOX easier and extends reliable, stress-free data protection to Microsoft Azure.
“Veeam makes life in IT so much simpler, getting the job done with minimal effort,” Desplenter said. “Veeam is an enterprise-grade solution for enterprise-size companies protecting a lot of critical data.”
Veeam backs up 1.3 PB of data across 550 virtual machines and 85 physical machines on-premises to Dell EMC Data Domain. Veeam also replicates offpremises and sends backup copies to a disaster recovery (DR) site. Veeam will send backup copies to Azure in the future.
“Veeam is future-ready; that’s one of the things we like best about it,” Desplenter said. “Veeam Cloud Data Management will play a major part in our transition to the cloud — something we knew our legacy solution couldn’t manage.”
Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise lets companies securely send copies of local backups to any public or private cloud. For Unilin, that will be Azure. A built-in, automatic-tiering feature called Veeam Cloud Tier offloads older backups to more affordable storage, such as Azure Blob. Veeam Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure restores on-premises virtual and physical machines in Azure, ensuring constant availability of Unilin’s critical IT systems.
Granular recovery is fast and easy with Veeam too. Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server recovers individual items in SAP EWM, and Veeam Explorer for Oracle recovers items in Locus WMS.
“I can’t express how fast and simple it is to recover data with Veeam,” Desplenter said. “That’s how we reduced backup management by 95 % (from 40 hours each week to two hours), freeing up one full-time employee to focus on standardizing IT processes for the companies Mohawk acquires.”
Desplenter said Veeam also makes it easier to comply with data requirements in SOX. Mohawk is a publicly traded company, so SOX compliance is mandatory. Not only does Veeam ensure backup and replication are reliable, it also verifies the recoverability of backups (SureBackup) and replicas (SureReplica).
“Companies need solutions they can rely on, and Veeam is reliable — plain and simple,” Desplenter said. “Technical support is excellent too. We’ve opened a few support tickets, and Veeam provides solutions almost immediately. Veeam even solved a data domain integration issue that had existed for quite some time but never got solved. That blew my mind. Now we’re at a point with Veeam that we’re looking at additional functionality that will further improve IT processes, including high bandwidth mode for WAN Acceleration and flexible NAS backup.”
- Delivers consistent, reliable backups of critical IT systems for manufacturing
“Shortly after installing Veeam, we began replicating backups of our IT systems to our DR site — a key component of our DR strategy that legacy backup had failed to deliver reliably and that required a lot of follow-up and management from our backup administrators. On top of that, we started replicating production-critical IT systems. Veeam delivers this make-or-break component right out of the box. We were floored.”
- Provides a cloud data management strategy to extend availability to Microsoft Azure
Veeam Cloud Data Management will ensure virtual and physical machines running Unilin’s critical systems are recoverable and available in Azure in the event of an outage or crisis.
- Frees up one FTE to standardize acquisition IT processes; supports SOX compliance
“By decreasing backup management time by 95 %, Veeam freed up one full-time employee to standardize the IT side of acquisition,” Desplenter said. “Veeam also supports SOX compliance by verifying our backups and replicas are recoverable.”