VEKA AG boosts customer satisfaction with on-time deliveries

Driving up efficiency and service levels with more reliable systems

Published on 23-Aug-2013

"The IBM ProtecTIER solution has reduced the time required for a full system backup from 17 hours to just 3.5 hours – an improvement of more than 75 percent. Keeping backup times short also gives our IT staff more time to work on optimizing our systems during maintenance windows, resulting in better performance." - Christian Otte, IT Manager of the Server Center, VEKA AG

Customer:
VEKA AG

Industry:
Fabrication & Assembly

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Virtualization, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
GCC German Computer Company , SAP

Overview

Since its foundation in 1969 in Sendenhorst, Germany, VEKA AG has grown to become one of the leading producers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) profile systems for windows and doors, today employing around 3,700 staff at locations across three continents. VEKA designs, produces and delivers components to manufacturers, who assemble the parts and sell the end products under their own brand names.

Business need:
VEKA AG needs its processes to run reliably and without interruption to ensure on-time, accurate delivery of products to customers – but its systems were struggling with escalating data volumes.

Solution:
VEKA deployed an IBM® System Storage® TS7650G ProtecTIER® Deduplication Gateway to cope with growing data volumes, accelerating backups and reducing the risk of downtime for key SAP systems.

Benefits:
Cuts backup times by more than 75 percent, minimizing planned and unplanned downtime and helping to ensure on-time deliveries, boosting customer satisfaction levels and cutting costs.

Case Study

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

Since its foundation in 1969 in Sendenhorst, Germany, VEKA AG has grown to become one of the leading producers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) profile systems for windows and doors, today employing around 3,700 staff at locations across three continents. VEKA designs, produces and delivers components to manufacturers, who assemble the parts and sell the end products under their own brand names.

Manufacturing PVC is a complex and expensive process that requires VEKA’s production lines to run at a constant speed and maintain a precise temperature. As a result, VEKA’s production and logistics systems need constant access to data to ensure that products are produced to a high quality and stored correctly. When the company expanded its portfolio of window and door designs, the volume of data these systems needed to manage grew significantly, putting pressure on the existing IT infrastructure.

Specifically, backup times for business-critical SAP systems were rising, raising the risk of unscheduled downtime or slow recovery in the event of a hardware failure. Products produced when SAP systems are not available, for example during planned maintenance windows, need to be stored somewhere until applications are back online – resulting in unnecessary warehousing costs and delays to deliveries. For this reason, VEKA AG needs to minimize planned and unplanned downtime.

Christian Otte, IT Manager of the Server Center at VEKA AG, explains, “In total, the IT team needed most of the scheduled maintenance window just to complete backups of our SAP systems, which left little time for upgrades. We realized that cutting backup times could make a real difference in improving the resilience of our systems – and by avoiding or minimizing the risk of outages, it would translate into greater productivity for the business. Minimizing scheduled downtime would also enable us to boost output and sales.”

Maximizing resiliency
After evaluating a range of solutions together with IBM Business Partner GCC German Computer Company, VEKA decided to deploy an IBM System Storage TS7650G ProtecTIER Deduplication Gateway to store backups of its business-critical SAP systems, plus an IBM Storwize V7000 device for background storage. The ProtecTIER solution accelerates incoming IBM i streams from the IBM Backup, Recovery & Media Services (BRMS) for i software by parallelizing backups across up to 256 virtual drives distributed over 15 IBM i partitions. Once the backup is complete, the solution transfers archive data to an IBM System Storage TS3500 tape library for long-term low-cost data retention.

Christian Otte comments, “We selected the ProtecTIER solution because we were highly satisfied with our previous experience of IBM technology. IBM Systems Lab Services and our partner GCC German Computer Company integrated the ProtecTIER solution seamlessly into our environment and configured it to meet the needs of our business. The IBM and GCC consultants continue to provide outstanding support, helping us take full advantage of this advanced backup solution.”

Reliable platform for business-critical SAP systems
VEKA runs its business-critical SAP systems plus the IBM Domino® collaboration solution on three IBM Power® 770 servers, one of which is used as a sandbox to test new features and versions of the SAP applications. The IBM Power servers run the IBM i operating system. VEKA manages backups using IBM Backup, Recovery & Media Services (BRMS) for i software. The IBM Power Systems™ servers are connected to three IBM System Storage DS8800 devices, which provide storage for VEKA AG’s production systems.

VEKA uses SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration, SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management, and SAP Customer Relationship Management applications, which utilize the IBM DB2® for i database to manage the data for the company’s business-critical processes. The SAP systems are accessed by 1,400 users – including 900 concurrent users – based all over the world.

Christian Otte remarks, “We have been running our mission-critical SAP applications on the IBM i platform for more than 12 years. We are extremely satisfied with the great stability and high performance it provides for our business.”

Slashing backup times by over 75 percent
The IBM ProtecTIER solution has significantly accelerated backups, helping VEKA manage backups efficiently even as the amount of business data its systems generate and manage continues to grow.

Christian Otte explains, “The IBM ProtecTIER solution has reduced the time required for a full system backup from 17 hours to just 3.5 hours – an improvement of more than 75 percent. Keeping backup times short also gives our IT staff more time to work on optimizing our systems during maintenance windows, resulting in better performance.”

Providing excellent customer service
VEKA has significantly reduced the risk of SAP system downtime, enhancing its ability to deliver products to customers on time, and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. Faster backup times have also enabled the company to minimize downtime during scheduled maintenance windows. Increasing the availability of its SAP systems allows VEKA to run its production line without interruption for longer periods, boosting output and revenues. Cutting the risk of unplanned downtime helps warehouse management processes keep pace with the continuous operation of VEKA’s production line, eliminating the need for the company to choose between letting expensively produced goods go to waste or purchasing additional intermediate storage facilities. These savings help the company maintain lower operational costs and offer better value products to customers.

Christian Otte concludes, “By deploying the ProtecTIER solution, we have dramatically reduced the risk of backups over-running and causing unscheduled downtime, helping us ensure accurate and timely delivery of orders to customers while boosting efficiency. IBM continues to deliver the advanced technology and reliable support we need to manage our global business efficiently and provide excellent customer service.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power 770, Power Systems, Power Systems running i, Storage, Storage: DS8800, Storage: Storwize V7000, Storage: Tape & Optical Storage, Storage: TS3500 Tape Library, Storage: TS7650G ProtecTIER Deduplication Gateway

Software:
DB2 for i5/OS, IBM Domino

Operating system:
IBM i

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance, STG Lab Services: Storage

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