Since 2009, RI-Solution has been using Micro Focus Data Protector to make frequent and automatic backups of the critical data that fuels clients’ IT services and applications. From supply consulting and project management to enterprise resource planning (ERP) services and applications, RI-Solution gives large companies unparalleled peace of mind, supporting their most complex operations and guaranteeing their assets’ full continuity and availability. The BayWa group, for instance, has 15,000 employees across 1,000 worldwide locations. It relies on having a stable and reliable IT environment to conduct its business in the highly competitive agricultural, energy, and construction sectors. RI-Solution delivers these optimal conditions by making sure the company’s data center operations, hardware management, and backup, recovery, and monitoring systems are efficient and responsive.
In 2014 and 2015, RI-Solution encountered stability issues with newer versions of Data Protector. After a year of implementing software fixes and repairs, the situation was brought to the attention of Micro Focus. To address the root causes of the issues affecting its ability to fully meet its service-level commitments, RI-Solution asked Micro Focus to help simplify its entire data storage, backup, and recovery system. Micro Focus responded by assigning a Customer Success Manager who had experience in streamlining complex IT environments.
“RI-Solution’s IT installation was very complex,” says the assigned Customer Success Manager. “Its environment was a composite mix of HANA, SAP, Microsoft, VMware, Linux, DB2, and a number of StoreOnce systems as backup targets. It comprised 70 TB of data, 650 servers to host applications, 2,000 SAP clients to manage, and 8,000 to 10,000 users accessing the system every day.”
For him, addressing the root causes of RISolution’s issues meant addressing the sources of conflict or incompatibilities from many different moving parts while ensuring that none of the measures interrupted ongoing business and IT workflows. The complexity of the infrastructure, coupled with a wide range of disjointed solutions, left little room for error.
In February 2016, the assigned Customer Success Manager designed and implemented a success plan that would both resolve the issues logged by RI-Solution and prevent future problems from arising.
All through March 2016, he worked with several departments to implement the success plan he prepared with RI-Solution’s input. Proceeding by steps, his plan included assessing the backup environment and its processes, analyzing the root causes of errors, making recommendations based on assessment results, setting up a Data Protector test environment, and giving proactive support whenever upgrades and updates took place.
In July 2016, the coordinated efforts of RISolution and a number of departments addressed all software and hardware issues, allowing the system’s disparate components to work together efficiently and reliably. Based on this success, the Get-Well-Plan was extended until the end of 2016 and until the next Data Protector update.
Since the new approach was implemented, the overall stability of the system has improved. This has not only reduced the number of errors and disruptions, but also the time spent managing and maintaining the system. The team only spends one to two hours per day troubleshooting the few errors that take place during more than 4,300 daily backups. On a given day, 10 to 20 backups may have issues due to changes in the environment, whereas before the plan it was closer to 200 to 250 per day.
The results-oriented plan included establishing a test environment to allow RI-Solution to simulate how new programs and components would affect its new and improved configuration. “We wanted to avoid repeating past errors,” says Jakob Strasser, System Specialist, IT Control Center, RI-Solution. “That’s why it was important for us to be able to test any new element before it actually went live on our system.”
Along with the optimized testing environment, the assigned Customer Success Manager worked on delivering timely and tailor-made scenarios, best practices, and recommendations for RI-Solution’s IT team so they would know what to expect based on test results. RI-Solution’s IT team is now able to focus its time and energy on more strategic tasks, an optimized allocation of resources that has improved the IT team’s cohesion and morale. “We can now spend more time optimizing our workflows and processes instead of only repairing and troubleshooting,” says Holger Fischer, Lead IT Manager, IT Control Center, RI-Solution.
“Thanks to our system’s increased stability, our IT staff is now free to work on projects that were on hold, allowing us to develop new offerings for our clients and helping us grow our business the way we’ve always wanted to.”