Business continuity and rock-solid network security drive international growth at Swiss insurance giant

Posted on 20/03/2019

Acquisition, naturally, is seen as a vehicle for business growth. But it can also inspire other changes: what if acquisition created an opportunity to rethink an entire approach to business?

Helvetia is one of Switzerland’s leading insurance providers. Its 2014 acquisition of rivals Nationale Suisse made the business even bigger, but created a headache: how to consolidate four data centers into two?

The challenge provided the IT team with a blank piece of paper. For a company used to making step-by-step changes, the project would allow them to make the bold move to an entirely new software-defined data center environment. This would accelerate Helvetia’s digital transformation, allowing it to make customer services faster, easier and more personal.

The VMware solution is based on VMware NSX® Data Center. This creates a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) for Helvetia, delivering networking and security entirely in software, abstracted from the underlying physical infrastructure. At a stroke it makes Helvetia more efficient and more agile.

In addition, VMware vCloud Suite® is an enterprise-ready private cloud software that brings together the industry-leading VMware vSphere Hypervisor and VMware vRealize® Suite cloud management platform. vRealize Suite provides developer-friendly infrastructure (supporting VMs and containers) and a common approach to hybrid and multicloud.

Today, Helvetia has two active-active data centers in the Zurich area (a part of the country with less risk of earthquakes than Helvetia’s home city of Basel). The entire project was complete in 18 months.

This strengthens business continuity, delivers a more efficient infrastructure and means Helvetia can be faster to market with new services. The IT function is more efficient; Helvetia’s team is maintaining more services with the same headcount. Also, it will be easier to integrate new acquisitions or scale up infrastructure in support of growth areas of the business.

In the words of Andreas Hagin, Helvetia’s Lead Engineer, IT Infrastructure: “From my perspective, VMware vRealize® Network Insight™ is a must-have, giving us visibility of the complete virtualized infrastructure, and accelerating our digital transformation. The market is changing and time to market is critical. We have to be fast to market in a multichannel world. We now have the computing power, and agility, to handle all of this.”

To hear from Andreas Hagin on Helvetia’s digital journey, watch this video.


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