MULTIVAC meets worldwide connectivity challenges

WAN optimization boosts productivity and cuts waiting times up to 97 percent

Published on 08-Jul-2013

"IBM and Riverbed have supported MULTIVAC in connecting global locations more flexibly and efficiently. This large project was a showcase for the competency and the successful collaboration of both partners." - Wilfried Grewe, CIO, MULTIVAC

Customer:
Multivac GmbH & Co. KG

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Riverbed - WAN Optimization, Riverbed / Steelhead - WAN Optimization, Connectivity and Integration, Virtualization, Virtualization - Network

IBM Business Partner:
Riverbed Technology

Overview

MULTIVAC, based in Wolfertschwenden, Germany, develops, produces and sells packaging machines for foodstuffs, medical equipment and many other industries. Founded as a family business in 1961, MULTIVAC employs more than 3,700 people and sells industrial thermoformers, tray sealers, and vacuum-chamber machines in around 140 countries on every continent.

Business need:
Increased workload at packaging company MULTIVAC required better, more reliable network connections, to optimize processes and employee productivity.

Solution:
Following a proof of concept, MULTIVAC implemented Riverbed Steelhead WAN optimization technology to connect its 65 subsidiaries.

Benefits:
Reduces data transfer times by up to 80 percent, boosting staff productivity. Virtualization increases available bandwidth up to fourfold, and helps to accelerate selected processes by up to 50 percent.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here.

MULTIVAC, based in Wolfertschwenden, Germany, develops, produces and sells packaging machines for foodstuffs, medical equipment and many other industries. Founded as a family business in 1961, MULTIVAC employs more than 3,700 people and sells industrial thermoformers, tray sealers, and vacuum-chamber machines in around 140 countries on every continent.

The company has grown continuously, and in the past ten years has doubled its sales and created an international presence composed of 65 subsidiaries worldwide. MULTIVAC operates its core applications centrally at its headquarters. Its locations worldwide rely on one SAP ERP instance running on IBM® Power Systems™ servers with the IBM i operating system. The globally distributed engineering and sales teams work with 3D CAD software, configurators and CRM to customize machine designs. The complex configurations are stored centrally.

Wilfried Grewe, CIO at MULTIVAC, explains: “MULTIVAC manufactures bespoke machines for our global customers. This service requires engineers to collaborate on machine specifications and designs across locations and geographies. Everybody needs fast and reliable access to our CAD data and technical documents to provide that high quality service our customers expect.”

Over years of expansion, bandwidth requirements increased as following the continuous growth more people rely on connections to the central solutions. MULTIVAC found it increasingly difficult to ensure the required throughput between its headquarters and other locations, and at some locations the local infrastructure did not allow connection bandwidth to be increased.

“For example, staff on other continents complained that they could not work efficiently,” says Wilfried Grewe. “It took engineers up to three hours to transfer a CAD file from the central repository. This slowed down the entire company at more distant locations such as Australia, the US and other countries.”

Deploying a global solution
MULTIVAC turned to IBM Global Technology Services® to enable improved and optimized data transfers to the different locations. The project team evaluated solutions from different vendors, and after a successful proof of concept between the headquarters in Germany and the subsidiary in Australia, MULTIVAC implemented a solution based on appliances from IBM Business Partner Riverbed Technology.

“We were and still are highly impressed by the competence and experience of the IBM team with Riverbed Steelhead appliances,” says Wilfried Grewe. “The Riverbed Steelhead WAN optimization solution works remarkably well.”

The solution was implemented using Riverbed Steelhead appliances of one single size, so that individual performance requirements could be met using different software configurations.

“Our local subsidiaries make independent business decisions,” explains Wilfried Grewe. “We have to convince every single country organization before we can roll the solution out to the relevant locations. The flexible service contract offered by IBM took this unique structure into account, enabling us to roll out the solution step by step over 18 months. Today, we can connect a location with the Riverbed Steelhead solution in only one or two days, including testing and configuration. This gives us the flexibility we need to test the solution easily at different locations and decide where we can achieve the best effect with the appliances for each application.”

MULTIVAC boosted the virtual capacity of connection links by a factor of between two and four, depending on location and access patterns. Some improvements were even greater.

Thomas Kassirra, responsible for the Riverbed implementation at MULTIVAC, explains, “Without the WAN optimization solution from Riverbed, it was difficult to connect some locations to the headquarters. This solution has enabled efficient global collaboration in a manner that was not possible before.”

The improvements will benefit engineers and technical sales staff in particular. Previously, opening drawings could take up to three hours, whereas today, employees can open 3D objects in as little as ten minutes or less – a significant improvement that eliminates costly disruptions in the workflow. MULTIVAC has also dramatically improved its service, as quotes for complex machines can be created and sent much more rapidly, and many other business processes that rely on central information have been accelerated by up to 50 percent.

In the future, MULTIVAC plans to take the next step in simplifying its IT environment by running virtual machines in branch offices on the Riverbed Steelhead appliances, using the Virtual Services Platform. Wilfried Grewe concludes, “IBM and Riverbed have supported MULTIVAC in connecting global locations more flexibly and efficiently. Now that we are working with both partners to optimize IT operations further, we expect to reduce the number of servers at different locations to lower the administration workload, for example. This large project was a showcase for the competency and the successful collaboration of both partners.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Power Systems, Power Systems running i

Software:
IBM i

Service:
GTS Integrated Technology Services, GTS ITS Integrated Communications: Networking Strategy & Opt., IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Deutschland GmbH IBM-Allee 1 71139 Ehningen Deutschland ibm.com/de IBM Österreich Obere Donaustrasse 95 1020 Wien ibm.com/at IBM Schweiz Vulkanstrasse 106 8010 Zürich ibm.com/ch Produced in Germany June 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Global Technology Services and Power Systems are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Steelhead is a product of Riverbed Technology. IBM and Riverbed Technology are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Riverbed makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.Steelhead is not an IBM product or offering. Steelhead is sold or licensed, as the case may be, to users under Riverbed’s terms and conditions, which are provided with the product or offering. Availability, and any and all warranties, services and support for Steelhead is the direct responsibility of, and is provided directly to users by, Riverbed. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.