Indu-Sol Builds a Highly Available IT System Fit for Industry 4.0 with Huawei
A highly available IT solution, with considerable expansion capacity in reserve, means that industrial network specialist Indu-Sol is ready to take on the future challenges of Industry 4.0.
Headquartered in the German town of Schmölln, in the state of Thuringia, Indu-Sol GmbH is an industrial network specialist, supplying a full range of consulting, planning, and infrastructure solutions — including network monitoring — along with services for every aspect of machine and plant networks. Indeed, with its extensive experience and knowledge of digitalized, automated network technologies, the company has become an indispensable supplier and service partner for many plant operators.
For its own data center and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, Indu-Sol also relies on strong, reliable partners that understand its requirements and can propose innovative solutions. With the maintenance contracts for its existing blade center and storage solution up for renewal, the company began exploring new partnership opportunities. A move into a new office and technology center required a second data center to be constructed, to meet the growing market demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0. As a result, the company began discussions with a range of providers about a new, highly available IT solution — one with sufficient scalability and expansion capacity in reserve, anticipating future growth.
From product development and marketing to manufacturing, logistics, and warehouse management, Indu-Sol relies heavily on virtualization for daily operations. Indeed, this critical service, run on a blade center, had been in use for many years. But with the company's growth, it was clear that legacy IT systems had reached their performance limits. A new IT system was required, one that would be split between two in-house data centers
The new system also had to be able to offer load balancing, ensuring balanced load distribution between the two data centers, while also allowing for maintenance to be conducted without interrupting operations. These were the technical requirements that the project kicked off with.
Yet, for Head of IT and project manager Martin Wilke, it was about more than just that: it was also critically important to meet the increasing demand for computing capacity and ensure high reliability. His goal was to create a highly available IT landscape that was, nonetheless, easy to manage. In addition, Wilke wanted the the system to be designed in such a way that future requirements could be accommodated, without the need for further investment, anticipating Industry 4.0 and the networked production that will bring enormous volumes of invaluable data.
Wilke first became aware of Huawei through a special all-flash promotion in late 2019, which promised state-of-the-art Solid State Drive (SSD) storage for the same price as conventional hard disks. On behalf of Indu-Sol, WBS IT-Service GmbH — a leading IT services provider — created a concept for future-oriented and highly available IT infrastructure, with all requirements and framework parameters defined in a strategy workshop. After successfully implementing the network solution, WBS proceeded to carry out further infrastructure modernization for Indu-Sol. The second server room in its new building was designed as a fully fledged, redundant server location with high availability components, all without a Single Point Of Failure (SPOF).
With requirements clearly defined, it was time to select technologies and providers. In addition to the OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage solutions purchased as part of the promotion back in 2019, Huawei's hyperconverged servers also made their debut at Indu-Sol's site in early 2020.
"I know I got the best for the available budget."
Martin Wilke, Head of IT at Indu-Sol
Huawei's Intel processor-based servers were about to undergo a processor refresh at the time of procurement, so — on the advice of the assigned Huawei expert — Wilke waited a few weeks: subsequently, Indu-Sol became one of the very first companies in Germany to order the latest generation of processors.
While the legacy system was still running an old version of VMware, the latest version, vSphere 7, is now being used for virtualization in the new system. Another benefit this sytem brings is high scalability: out of the 24 available slots in the storage system, only seven are currently in use.
"Today, we can carry out maintenance during regular operation without any downtime, then simply restore the system in question to load balancing."
Martin Wilke, Head of IT at Indu-Sol
Reserves in computing power are also extensive. If one data center fails completely, the remaining data center can take over the load on its own. The system utilization rate is currently only around 10%, leaving plenty of room for development and a stable basis for digital transformation in the future.
"Huawei's HyperMetro technology is unbeatable in terms of price-performance ratio. We have gained future-oriented IT technology, which in retrospect justifies every euro spent."
Martin Wilke, Head of IT at Indu-Sol
Huawei Enterprise Business Group ("Huawei Enterprise") is one of the three business groups of Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions provider. Leveraging Huawei's strong R&D capabilities and comprehensive technical expertise, Huawei Enterprise provides a wide range of highly efficient customer-centric ICT solutions and services to global vertical industry and enterprise customers across government and public sectors, finance, transportation, electric power, energy, commercial businesses, and ISPs.
Huawei Enterprise's innovative and leading solutions cover network infrastructure, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), cloud computing and data centers, enterprise information security, and industry application solutions.
For more information, visit e.huawei.com.
WBS IT-Service GmbH is one of the leading cross-manufacturer IT service providers in central Germany and is certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2015 (quality management), ISO 27001:2017 (information security management), and ISO 27017:2015 (information security for cloud services). With more than 170 employees, WBS has been operating in the highly competitive IT market since 1990. Customers from all industries rely on the consulting and solution expertise as well as the comprehensive services of WBS IT-Service GmbH when planning, establishing, optimizing, and securing their IT.
At Indu-Sol, the motto is "we live network." With almost 20 years of experience, Indu-Sol is the point of contact for automation technology in industrial networks. The company focuses on objective assessment of the quality and stability of network communication and offers smart solutions to facilitate work with fieldbuses and industrial networks. Customers receive "everything from a single source" and for all industry-standard fieldbus systems and network technologies: measurement technology and infrastructure components, measurements and troubleshooting, training, consulting for planning or modernization of systems, and 24-hour support.