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A medium-sized family business based in Ostwestfalen-Lippe, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Kögel Bau — which translates as Kögel Construction — has experienced rapid growth across all of its business in recent years. Founded in 1968, the company has a history of transforming construction ideas into reality, from planning through to completion, covering civil engineering and turnkey construction, renovations, structural engineering, and more. Indeed, with group's work spanning six independent business areas, its projects couldn't be any more varied, from historical monuments and modern hospital buildings, to hotels and sports halls.
Employing around 270 employees — a figure double that of just ten years ago, testament to the company's success — fundamental changes in the industry were posing a significant challenge to Kögel Bau. As elsewhere, digitalization is becoming critical for construction, with architectural offices and raw material suppliers alike increasingly working with digital processes. Data is exchanged using online portals, constructReaping Rewardsion plans are digitalized, and sensor-based machines are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, construction sites themselves increasingly use digital tools, such as digital measuring devices.
As digitalization becomes widespread, Kögel Bau found that it was processing more and more data, straining legacy storage: over a span of just twelve months, the company's data volume almost quadrupled.
With construction plans now drawn up using Computer-Aided Design (CAD), requiring extensive computing and storage resources, other Information Technology (IT) infrastructure also supports business-critical processes in many other areas of the company. A single failure would therefore have major consequences, company-wide. For example, if the process for ordering materials broke down, project timelines would take the hit, causing costs to skyrocket.
To make its IT infrastructure more reliable and efficient, Kögel Bau decided to bundle together its main data center and backup data center. This move was also logical from a financial and environmental point of view, avoiding having to run two separate sites, given that a backup center only becomes relevant on the rare occasion of a complete failure. Now, the company uses just one data center, based on Huawei FusionModule800. This is a compact data center solution setup with redundant modules, doing away with the need for a separate backup data center.
With FusionModule800, all of Kögel Bau's data center modules come from a single provider, bringing with it much needed simplicity, unlike the complex legacy solution that involved equipment from multiple vendors. The new system features a Power Distribution Unit (PDU) for optimal distribution of power, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), cooling, access control, early fire detection, and a camera system that monitors access to the data center.
With legacy storage capacity pushed to its limit, given those increasing data volumes, Kögel Bau also took the opportunity to modernize its overall storage landscape. Indeed, since October 2021, the company has been using the Huawei OceanStor 5300 hybrid flash storage system to store data efficiently and securely. With Huawei's HyperMetro software module integrated into the solution, active-active clustering is possible. That means that workloads in one storage cluster can be distributed across two or more nodes, ensuring that data is always available at another location in the event of a component malfunction.
Kögel Bau is putting its new storage solution to good use, deploying it as a virtual storage solution for the company's desktop and server virtualization tool. In addition, Solid State Drives (SSD) ensure that virtual memory resources are quickly available. Elsewhere, traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), with lower speeds, are used for file storage.
Migration to the new storage solution took place over two weekends, with the implementation process proving so seamless that more than 170 users didn't even notice that it had taken place. Overall, the IT team at Kögel Bau has created a robust, future-proof foundation for the company's entire IT infrastructure, built on data center and storage solutions from Huawei.
As a family business, Kögel Bau is committed to social responsibility and sustainability. Energy-efficient and sustainable solutions therefore play a key role in the company's IT infrastructure decisions and were important criteria when selecting the new systems. With a guaranteed service life of five years, the Huawei products impressed in terms of their green IT credentials. OceanStor 5300 and FusionModule800 products also scored points for their excellent energy consumption figures. With hot and cold aisles installed in the new data center, the benefit of targeted management of cool air and exhaust air means that significantly less energy is required for cooling hardware racks.
Aside from energy efficiency, the Huawei solutions offer an optimal cost-benefit ratio and quick, uncomplicated support. For example, on Christmas Day, 2021, the system at Kögel Bau registered that the hard disk in one of the storage units was on the verge of failure. Just two days later, a new hard disk was onsite and ready for installation. This was possible thanks to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) integrated into the devices. This enables predictive maintenance and proactive support, meaning that any problems can be identified early enough to avoid system failures.
Finally, it was hugely important for Kögel Bau that the new solutions could be quickly and easily expanded and scaled. The storage landscape and data center can therefore grow in parallel with the requirements of the business, which only look set to soar.
"At our construction sites, employees access data from our central data center using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel. High-performance connections and a secure data management system are therefore essential."
Thomas Lison, IT Team Leader, Kögel Bau