NCT brings data security to the cloud

Professional data security solutions for small and mid-size companies – without the need for significant investment

Published on 17-Jan-2014

"With IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and Front-safe TSM Portal, we offer them a simple, transparent solution with the highest levels of security in a high-class infrastructure – and at a cost that can be easily calculated." - Eric Nürnberger, Geschäftsführer, NCT GmbH


Computer Services

Deployment country:

Business Resiliency, Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Enabling Business Flexibility, High Availability , SaaS, Security and Resiliency - Cloud Delivered Offerings, Small & Medium Business, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
Front-safe A/S


System security is the core business of NCT GmbH, which was founded in 1988 in Trebur near Frankfurt am Main. It specializes particularly in high-availability solutions and business continuity solutions for IBM Power Systems™ servers with IBM i and IBM AIX®, as well as Intel-based IBM System x® servers with VMware and Linux or Windows.

Business need:
IT service provider NCT GmbH wanted to offer its small and midsize customers a professional data security solution which would provide transparent billing and be affordable within a tight budget.

With TSM Portal software from Front-safe, NCT is able to offer its customers a cloud-based backup strategy with a usage-based billing model, based on IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager.

Up to 70 percent storage savings through deduplication and compression. Relieves smaller companies of the need to manage backups themselves. Meets legal guidelines by securing data in a German data center.

Case Study

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

System security is the core business of NCT GmbH, which was founded in 1988 in Trebur near Frankfurt am Main. It specializes particularly in high-availability solutions and business continuity solutions for IBM Power Systems™ servers with IBM i and IBM AIX®, as well as Intel-based IBM System x® servers with VMware and Linux or Windows.

More than 25 expert staff support over 200 clients from various industries – mostly small and medium-sized companies that do not have their own high-security data centers. NCT’s clients can rely on security solutions that meet the needs of enterprises of all sizes and offer an attractive price-performance ratio.

An IBM Premier Business Partner, NCT has been awarded the IBM Bestseller Award, and has been certified as a hosting partner for IT service providers who offer their solutions via a Software-as-a-Service model. Offering IT as a service, NCT successfully cooperates with the data center operator e-shelter as a hosting partner, and relieves its clients of the need to manage all kinds of IT-related processes – from hardware provisioning through data security to maintenance and service.

Professional backup for small budgets
Eric Nürnberger, CEO of NCT GmbH, comments: “We have found that many of the backup solutions that are ideal for large companies simply do not work out for small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of the investment required and the operating costs. From NCT’s point of view, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager is the best tool for centralized, hierarchical storage management and highly efficient and automated backup and recovery management – and we wanted to find a way to help our smaller clients take advantage of it .”

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager can easily migrate data between different tiers of storage, and offers comprehensive functionality for reducing the total volume of data that needs to be managed – such as progressive incremental backup, deduplication of source and target data, compression, and tape management. Ultimately, these features help to reduce overall data storage costs.

NCT replicates the backup data from its clients’ production systems via fiber-optic lines to multiple sites that are in different fire-protection zones. The replication is managed by IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, running in an NCT data center environment on an IBM Power® server farm and IBM System Storage® disk and tape systems. From there, the backups are saved to an IBM System Storage TS3310 Tape Library in another fire zone. The backup tapes are also still moved offsite to an external provider.

“We see a rapidly increasing demand for professional data backup solutions for our small and medium enterprise customers,” notes Eric Nürnberger. “Our solution allows clients to calculate the cost of external backups based on their actual consumption. This saves our clients the high monthly costs of paying for their own human and technical resources to manage backups.”

Using the new Front-safe TSM Portal, an extension for IBM Tivoli Storage Manager developed by Danish IBM Business Partner Front-safe A/S, service providers such as NCT can provide a highly scalable and flexible solution for backups in the cloud. This enables small and medium enterprises to access all the benefits of a highly professional IBM Tivoli Storage Manager solution for a small fee that scales depending on the amount of storage capacity used. As a result, customers do not need to make large investments of capital in an on-premise backup infrastructure.

Using Front-safe TSM Portal software, NCT gives its customers flexible access to IBM Tivoli Storage Manager resources. NCT sets up an access portal for the customer to access. The customer can log in and manage backups in a simple and intuitive interface. Daily reports on usage make it easy to understand the cost of the service and how much will be billed.

“With Front-safe TSM Portal, we have found a fair pricing model for a shared backup environment based on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, which meets our needs and those of our customers,” says Eric Nürnberger. “NCT has worked with Front-safe to develop the solution and put the infrastructure in place. The whole service, including the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager solution, administrative costs, facility fees and far-reaching service level agreements, is provided to the client as a single cost.

Strategies for online backup in the cloud
In its business case, NCT has calculated savings of up to 35 percent and significantly increased security with the IBM solution. Based on his own experience, Eric Nürnberger states: “One client in the banking industry used to have to spend around EUR 15,000 per year to maintain a local backup solution, not counting the cost of server hardware, administration and tape backup drives. This company was able to save itself 100 percent of these maintenance costs. In addition, the customer no longer has to worry about backup management: it can focus the growth of its business while we look after the backups.”

NCT calculates that the service costs less than one Euro per gigabyte for the space that is actually used on the storage system. This is partly because the disk space required can be significantly reduced using targeted online backup strategies.

Eric Nürnberger: “With data deduplication and compression, which are the particular advantages of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, we can reduce space requirements by up to 70 percent. We analyze the customer’s data structures and versions to develop a personalized backup strategy, so that, for example, out of seven terabytes of data to be backed up, we can calculate that only about 300 gigabytes actually need to be stored.”

The online backup service can include both servers and desktops, and both Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X systems. For mobile devices such as laptops and tablets, NCT has developed a client that installs itself automatically as soon as a traveling employee connects to the internet. Also, devices that are used by employees out in the field can be seamlessly integrated into the centralized backup system.

In order to satisfy statutory storage periods and achieve auditability, NCT can maintain legacy systems with specific systems and version levels as required. All backup-related key performance indicators are designed to comply with statutory requirements, and this is a main focus and integral part of NCT’s detailed and comprehensive service level agreements.

NCT service level agreements go far beyond typical arrangements, focusing on more than just guaranteeing availability. NCT can fulfill all requirements for physical and logical security, such as strictly controlled access to the data center, data encryption and storage of tape backups. Eric Nürnberger says: “We offer an enterprise-class service for hosting and backup, with the highest quality solutions, using IBM components with 24/7 support from IBM.”

Intelligent data security
The online backup service reduces the burden on managers of small and medium-sized companies who are personally responsible for securing their IT systems. It can even support customers with complex environments, where high penalties are handed out for failure to deliver because of IT problems, for example.

With Front-safe’s Automatic Restore Control add-on, backup data can also be automatically tested for its validity and its ability to be recovered successfully in a VMware environment. The results are then available as a report that can be used as audit documentation. In an emergency, Automatic Restore Control can also be used as a quick recovery system, meeting even the strictest auditing guidelines.

To meet German data protection standards, all the data is stored in a data center that is in purely German hands. Smooth implementation of the German data protection rules is a clear advantage of NCT’s service for data backup experts – especially in light of the current debate on the requests of government authorities to access service providers’ databases. A clear legal basis for the service provides many customers with indispensable security and peace of mind.

Eric Nürnberger adds: “Intelligent information hedging strategies help our customers safeguard the information base for their business against the backdrop of ever-growing mountains of data and more complex information structures. With IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and Front-safe TSM Portal, we offer them a simple, transparent solution with the highest levels of security in a high-class infrastructure – and at a cost that can be easily calculated.”

For more information
To learn more about IBM Tivoli solutions, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at:

To learn more about products, services and solutions from Front-safe A/S, visit:

Products and services used

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

Power Systems, Power Systems running i, Storage, Storage: TS3310 Tape Library, System x

Tivoli Storage Manager for System Backup and Recovery, AIX, IBM i

Operating system:

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2014. IBM Deutschland GmbH. IBM-Allee 1. 71139 Ehningen. Deutschland. IBM Österreich. Obere Donaustrasse 95. 1020 Wien. IBM Schweiz. Vulkanstrasse 106. 8010 Zürich. Produced in Germany. January 2014. IBM, the IBM logo,, AIX, Power, Power Systems, System Storage, System x and Tivoli 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: Intel, Intel logo, Intel Inside, Intel Inside logo, Intel Centrino, Intel Centrino logo, Celeron, Intel Xeon, Intel SpeedStep, Itanium, and Pentium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. TSM Portal is a product of Front-safe A/S. IBM and Front-safe A/S are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Front-safe A/S 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. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.