Business Continuity is Key for Dutch Packaging Specialist
Faes Group made a tremendous step forward in selecting a hyperconverged business continuity solution based on Scale Computing HyperCore and Lenovo ThinkSystem servers.
In 1987, 22-year-old Johan Faes founded a one-man business under the name Faes Flightcases. The term flight case comes from the music world: touring bands used this type of suitcase to transport musical instruments and sound and light equipment. As a musician with a technical background, Faes started to build flight cases for his band himself.
What started as a sole proprietorship has grown into an organization with almost 100 employees and its own offices in the Netherlands, India, and strategic alliances in the US and Hungary. In 2005, three business units were created, and the company continued under the name Faes Group.
Flight cases are only a fraction of the current range of products and services. The current Faes Group is an all-round packaging specialist, which facilitates the entire logistics chain.
IT plays an important role within the Faes Group. However, the group faced a shortage of IT performance and storage capacity. There was also a desperate need for improved business continuity because the existing system did not offer high availability. In the event of a disaster such as a ransomware attack, a full file server recovery procedure could take a whole day. This meant that business operations came to a standstill for 24 hours and the Faes Group lost a whole day of turnover.
The incumbent infrastructure solution had an important shortcoming: the capacity of the existing solution was limited to only ten snapshots per virtual machine.
Due to a lack of IT capacity, the Faes Group struggled with poor performance. Changing the IT environment involved a complex process that was difficult to manage.
Mapping out possibilities
The Faes Group carried out an evaluation of the possibilities to improve or replace its existing system. The group studied various solutions. Marcel Vlems, IT Operations Manager at the Faes Group, was made aware of a combined solution from Scale Computing and Lenovo during a meeting with his supplier Storage Support.
Vlems stated, “During my research into the possibility of expanding our existing storage environment or investing in a new solution, Sjef van Ham, the founder of Storage Support recommended Scale Computing on a Lenovo ThinkSystem server platform to me.”
Scale Computing HyperCore would provide simplicity in implementation and use, ideal data protection and automatic recovery capabilities, and was extremely cost-effective. In his opinion, using the SC//HyperCore cluster on Lenovo ThinkServer servers was the perfect solution. These technologies complemented each other and met all the requirements of the Faes Group.
Scale Computing solution
Vlems became fascinated by the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) approach that Scale Computing used for its virtualization platform. He saw this as “a step forward in the field of storage.”
SC//HyperCore combines virtualization, servers, storage, and backup and disaster recovery options within one user-friendly platform. All components are integrated into the solution, including the hypervisor, without the need to use third-party components or licenses. The solution is characterized by rapid commissioning, automated management procedures, and management from a central location. SC//HyperCore thus reduces daily routine tasks and saves time and money.
Faes Group implemented an SC//HyperCore cluster consisting of three Lenovo ThinkSystem servers which hosts 30 virtual machines. These are mainly Linux-based VMs. Two switches connect the nodes to the LAN.
According to Vlems, it was not difficult to convince the other team members of the need to use the Scale Computing platform. “That decision was easy because the solution was so easy to deploy, easy to manage, and offered at a very competitive price.
Scale Computing has helped us to achieve high availability at an affordable price. If we had taken care of that in our previous environment, it would cost us a lot more money. And we simply could not afford that. SC//HyperCore offers dramatically improved snapshot capabilities. The Faes Group can now take no less than 5,000 snapshots. And thanks to the greater frequency of snapshots, the recovered files are much more up-to-date. This greatly benefits business continuity. Backups are a lot faster. If an IT calamity occurred in the previous environment, it could take up to a day for the file server to fully recover. With Scale Computing, I can get that job done in five minutes. Hopefully, that will not be necessary often, but at least I am pleased to know that I can now do this in a much shorter time frame.— Marcel Vlems, IT Operations Manager, Faes Group
Scale Computing HyperCore offered the Faes Group several important benefits. It is a lot more user-friendly than the previous system. This is due to the simple nature of hyperconvergence. By uniting the virtualization, servers, IT storage, and backup and disaster recovery capabilities within a single platform, the group has been able to eliminate a layer of complexity. Said Vlems, “We used to use separate hosts with separate IT storage, and now we have all combined. This has simplified our entire IT environment.”
In the past, Faes Group was forced to call in external expertise if it wanted to change its IT infrastructure. Scale Computing has eliminated that need with its simplicity of use. Vlems reported, “We can now do this ourselves. It's really very simple and easy to use. And no expertise or training is required.”
SC//HyperCore also offers Faes Group the option to add new disaster recovery (DR) locations later. "All it takes is to add a new node,” said Vlems.