Bonar updates its data centers to improve business continuity

IBM Business Partner DHDS designs and installs new network backbone based on IBM technology

Published on 22-May-2013

"We have met all of our objectives. We now have a high-speed, secure connection between data centers that is future-proof in terms of traffic growth and which also speeds up data and server evacuation. The IBM-based solution has also greatly simplified configuration management, and our failover procedures are much more robust. A great result." - Manfred Voss, IT Security Manager, Bonar

Customer:
Bonar

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
Netherlands

Solution:
Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Energy Efficiency, High Availability , Virtualization, Virtualization - Network, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
Dirk Hallen Datensysteme (DHDS)

Overview

Bonar was recently formed by a merger of Colbond and Bonar Technical Fabrics, and is a leading manufacturer of technical textiles and construction fibers. It supplies products to global markets in the Flooring, Automotive, Construction, Civil Engineering, and Building segments. The company is headquartered in Arnhem, Netherlands, and Zele, Belgium, with production facilities located in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Business need:
Bonar is part of the Low & Bonar Group, and is a global leader in high performance technical textiles. The company wanted to simplify its IT failover procedures, accommodate future growth in network traffic, and speed up data and server evacuation.

Solution:
IBM Business Partner DHDS undertook a network backbone upgrade project to increase the speed, capacity, and flexi-bility of the link between Bonar’s mirrored data center facilities. DHDS proposed an IBM® BladeCenter® chassis at each site and created a stack between them using IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric Switches.

Benefits:
Link capacity has increased by a factor of 20 to protect future traffic capacity, data and server evacuation times have reduced, virtualization management has been greatly simplified, and failover processes are more robust.

Case Study

Bonar was recently formed by a merger of Colbond and Bonar Technical Fabrics, and is a leading manufacturer of technical textiles and construction fibers. It supplies products to global markets in the Flooring, Automotive, Construction, Civil Engineering, and Building segments. The company is headquartered in Arnhem, Netherlands, and Zele, Belgium, with production facilities located in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2007, it began a program to consolidate data center operations at two sites, five kilometers apart, close to its German manufacturing plant at Obernburg, near Darmstadt. These mirrored sites, which are operated in an active/active mode, run the company’s ERP suite which is used by most of the company’s divisions. The sites also host a number of domain controllers and a series of specific application servers, all within a

VMware environment. The architecture was designed around IBM BladeCenter technology, with each of the facilities running up to 300 virtual servers and connected with a 1GbE link. Back-up systems continued to rely on physical assets and routing.

Manfred Voss, Bonar’s IT Security Manager, recognized the need for a backbone upgrade project in mid-2011 to address two outstanding issues. “First, we wanted to increase the available bandwidth between both data centers to cope with anticipated growth in data volume and traffic, and also to speed up data and server evacuation,” he says.

“The bigger issue, however, was to simplify our failover process so strict business continuity targets could be met, and to avoid outages and waste in our key manufacturing lines.”

The project was given the go-ahead in late 2011, and Voss and his team quickly developed an overall requirements specification and invited proposals from potential vendors.

Choosing the supplier
After reviewing proposals, Bonar (then still Colbond) awarded a contract for the backbone upgrade project to Dusseldorf-based solution architects Dirk Hallen Datensysteme (DHDS). This long-established IBM Business Partner was previously involved in the original data center consolidation and therefore had good insight into the requirements. DHDS had also built an excellent reputation within Bonar for its skills, responsiveness and commitment. By leveraging the latest technologies from IBM, DHDS was able to offer Bonar a low-risk, compliant solution.

Under its proposal, DHDS carried out the design, project management, implementation, and integration. The recommended solution was built around IBM BladeCenter technology which not only met Bonar’s specification and offered low cost-of-ownership, but, crucially, also offered compatibility with existing Cisco network components.

System elements
The DHDS proposal replaced the two existing BladeCenter racks at each of the data center sites with two BladeCenter H chassis, and implemented a stack between them using two dual redundant IBM Virtual Fabric Switches. One advantage of using these switches is that spanning tree protocol (STP) is not required, which allows the link speed to be dramatically increased to a ‘true’ 20GbE. The increased bandwidth addresses the issue of future capacity for traffic growth and also enables a significant decrease in the time taken to evacuate servers and data when one site is taken down due to planned maintenance.

The issue around failover – the unplanned loss of a data center due to outage – was addressed by exploiting a key feature of the IBM Virtual Fabric Switch; the fact that routing takes place within the stack itself. Four of these switches have been installed, two in each chassis.

The immediate advantage is that the typical failover delay of 10 seconds associated with the existing routers has been eliminated, mostly by avoiding the complexity of Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP). An additional benefit is that network administration and configuration has become much easier – saving man-hours and lowering the risk of errors.

DHDS also supplied IBM BladeCenter 1/10Gb Uplink Ethernet Switch Module to further boost application performance and availability.

Explaining why he based the solution on IBM BladeCenter technology, Dirk Hallen, business owner of DHDS, says, “The BladeCenter portfolio offers class-leading performance and energy efficiency. While these were very important factors in this project, it was the versatility of the chassis and switches that made the difference along with compatibility with existing network components.”

Project outcomes
Manfred Voss confirms that Bonar is delighted with the backbone upgrade project outcomes. “We have met all of our objectives,” he says. “We now have a high-speed, secure connection between data centers that is future-proof in terms of traffic growth and which also speeds up data and server evacuation. The IBM-based solution has also greatly simplified configuration management, and our failover procedures are much more robust. A great result.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
BladeCenter, BladeCenter H Chassis, System Networking, System Networking: IBM BladeCenter 1/10Gb Uplink Ethernet Switch Module, System Networking: Virtual Fabric

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Germany GmbH IBM-Allee 1 71139 Ehningen Deutschland ibm.com/de IBM Austria Obere Donaustrasse 95 1020 Wien ibm.com/at IBM Switzerland Vulkanstrasse 106 8010 Zürich ibm.com/ch Produced in Germany May 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and BladeCenter 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. IBM and Dirk Hallen Datensysteme are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Dirk Hallen Datensysteme 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. 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.