The business challenge
From control panels, relays and circuit breakers to security lighting and data networking products, Schrack Technik Group is one of the few companies whose portfolio covers all the requirements of the electrical installation industry. Schrack Technik’s customers — many of which are leading electrical installation companies, data technology specialists and industrial enterprises — can choose from a range of over 15,000 items that are available for immediate delivery.
Schrack Technik’s major difference from its many competitors is that it doesn’t sell its products through wholesalers, but through its own highly trained field sales force. All its sales staff are technical specialists who can comprehensively advise customers and support them professionally, even in demanding projects.
“This combination of high-quality products, technical competence and personal support is what distinguishes us and is our vast competitive advantage in the market,” said Christian Pfundner, CIO at Schrack Technik.
However, optimum customer service is only possible if all digital processes run reliably and securely in the background, from the online store, to planning tools to the logistics software in the central warehouse.
“As an IT department, we must ensure that our customers and employees have access to all the data and services they need at all times,” said Pfundner. “This is the basic prerequisite for being able to launch new digital offers in the field of e-commerce, for example.”
Schrack Technik is therefore dependent on solutions that ensure the continuous availability of all IT resources, regardless of whether they run in the data center, in one of their 50 branches or in the cloud.
“It’s not just a matter of protecting against technical problems — server failures now happen very rarely,” said Pfundner. “Above all, we want to be prepared for the case that data is corrupted for some reason, for example by a ransomware attack. In this situation, we must be able to restore the affected data and systems as quickly as possible.”
The Veeam solution
Schrack Technik’s IT department had already outsourced the operation of its central data center infrastructure to an external IT provider several years ago. While they did this, they also implemented a new backup solution. The service provider used Veeam Backup & Replication from the very beginning to secure and reliably provide Schrack Technik’s virtualized systems.
“Our partner fulfilled our high demands on IT availability,” said Pfundner. “Thanks to the Veeam solution, we can always rely on our VMware vSphere infrastructure being available around the clock. Our partner documents with regular reports that all backups have run properly. And if a recovery is necessary, a message to the helpdesk is all that is needed. Within minutes, our employees can access the affected virtual machine (VM) again.”
Based on their positive experience with their Veeam solution, Schrack Technik decided to extend that BaaS model to servers across the company’s 50 branches. These decentralized servers are mainly used for infrastructure services, like file services. Among other things, employees store vast CAD files for individual customer projects here.
Previously, the employees onsite had taken care of regular data backups themselves.
“However, our goal was to replace these manual processes with a professional central management concept and thus relieve our employees,” said Pfundner.
Therefore, Schrack Technik’s service provider also integrated their decentralized servers into the central backup architecture. Most of these servers run on Microsoft Hyper-V and, thanks to Veeam, they can be backed up and restored with the same tools as their VMware vSphere infrastructure in the data center. Failed local file servers can also be restarted from backup in minutes with Instant VM Recovery®.
This solution architecture was also designed to maximize cyber-resiliency. They wanted to make sure that even if a decentralized server would be encrypted by ransomware, their centrally stored backup data would still be secure, and a fast restore would be possible. As a result, business operations could still continue without interruption.
Schrack Technik therefore also relies on Veeam technology for the next evolutionary step of their IT. They introduced Office 365 for its 1,000+ employees and now, they store more and more data in SharePoint Online instead of on local servers.
“Although Microsoft guarantees high availability for its cloud services, we are responsible for securing the data that’s stored in the cloud,” said Pfundner. “In order to be able to restore this data at any time, we decided to use Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.”
With this solution, all of their Office 365 data is automatically backed up on-premises with Schrack Technik’s service provider. Veeam provides the company with the powerful capability to granularly search this data on demand and selectively restore individual SharePoint objects or single emails from Exchange Online. For long-term storage of this data, Schrack Technik uses cost-effective cold storage, minimizing storage costs compared to a cloud-based solution.
“The Veeam solution for Office 365 perfectly complements our backup strategy,” said Pfundner. “We can now map all IT architectures on one platform and achieve maximum availability for all data, no matter where it is stored.”
- Maximum IT availability for optimal customer service:
Schrack Technik assures its business-to-business customers will experience fast-order processing and on-time delivery of over 15,000 different items. With Veeam, the company ensures that the necessary applications are available at all times.
- Improved cyber-resilience:
Veeam helped Schrack Technik remain capable of acting after a cyber-attack. If, for example, data on an IT system were to be encrypted by ransomware, it could be restored very quickly from the backup and business processes could be resumed immediately.
- No more operational effort thanks to BaaS:
Schrack Technik uses Veeam technology to secure all important IT workloads, whether they be in the data center, on decentralized servers and also in the cloud. The company has outsourced all operational tasks related to backup to a service provider. This leaves the IT department more time for strategically important projects like e-commerce.