New software-defined data center puts Porsche Informatik in pole position

Posted on 04/07/2019

Electric drives, the sharing economy, connected cars and autonomous driving: In the face of these trends, the automotive industry has no choice but to change course. Porsche Informatik – the Porsche Holding software control center – is pivotal to these dynamic developments. Ground-breaking solutions for the future of mobility can be built only on the foundation of people who have the tools they need to engineer world-class solutions. In 2018, Porsche Informatik wanted to revamp its IT infrastructure with the aid of long-standing partner VMware. And now? Mission accomplished: The software-defined data center (SDDC) solution set up by VMware and the products that run on it have now put the client’s IT infrastructure in pole position to master the challenges ahead.

Potential buyers can’t configure cars? A disaster scenario!

Headquartered in the Austrian city of Salzburg, Porsche Informatik GmbH has been shaping the car trade since the 1960s. As part of the VW Group, it is used to confronting many and varied challenges. “Every new development in the automotive industry is increasingly rooted in digital expertise, which adds to the pressure for Porsche Informatik – the software engineering company – to perform,” says Peter Friedwagner, Head of Infrastructure and Common Platforms at Porsche Informatik, describing the market situation facing his company. Internal processes therefore needed to be reviewed, time to market for software products was too long. There was also room for improvement in making IT resources available to software engineers in the business units. And wait times needed to be slashed to deliver more efficient support for solutions actively deployed in 27 countries.

IT security and availiability was another priority on the agenda of Peter Friedwagner’s team, the aim being for Porsche Informatik’s infrastructure to meet the highest possible security and availiability standards. Any data center outage could have had serious consequences: Potential buyers would no longer be able to configure cars and the shipment of spare parts would grind to a halt. “If a customer wants to bring their car in for a service and we can’t do the job because the system is down, that is obviously a disaster,” Friedwagner notes, explaining another repercussion of system outage.

Unbeatable integration thanks to VMware solutions

Porsche Informatik opted for software-defined data center solutions from VMware to master the new challenges. “In the long run, the main thing we want to do is reduce complexity. And on that score, the sheer level of integration makes VMware solutions simply unbeatable,” says Friedwagner, explaining the rationale behind the two companies’ long-standing collaboration. “No other company could give us the same technological edge.” The outcome? The new platform – a complete VMware software-defined data center with virtualized computing, storage, network and cloud automation – was up and running the various individual products in just four months.

Innovative firewall concept to guard against hackers

Thanks to its geo-redundant structure, the SDDC installed in the course of the VMware project now guarantees the availability of computing units across the Porsche Informatik facilities in Salzburg and Wels. At the same time, a more efficient system based on automated processes is curbing growing demand for new software solutions. VMware SDDC solutions also delivered the right response to the issue of cyber-attacks. The attacks cost companies around the world billions in dollars every year, and the trend is rising. “We are an international group, so we are a prime target for criminal hackers,” explains Lisa Siegensleitner, Security Specialist at Porsche Informatik. “That’s why it was so important to us to put the innovative firewall concept in place as part of the VMware project.” VMware has developed a special solution against lateral movement, the internal spread of malware to other systems. Each virtual machine has its own firewall for which individual rules can be defined.

In embracing this innovative solution, Porsche Informatik is also helping to ensure that Porsche Holding keeps its place as Europes most successful automotive retail company in the future. The VMware project has laid a broader, faster foundation for container as a service, artificial intelligence, big data and virtual reality.

Peter Friedwagner is clearly satisfied with how the VMware project has gone: “The VMware solutions are the beating heart that powers our infrastructure.”

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