Harro Höfliger develops and manufactures production and packaging systems and offers comprehensive consulting services as well as other services for the entire product life cycle. The medium-sized company’s customers include pharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as brand manufacturers of consumer and home-care products. Its machine portfolio covers every stage of industrialization from the lab to production. Founded in 1975, Harro Höfliger now employs about 1,300 people. Total operating performance amounted to 259 million euros in 2018, with exports accounting for 80 percent.
In 2017, Harro Höfliger was at a decision point: their service agreement for their server infrastructure was near expiration, and they had been testing the limits of performance for their existing three tier infrastructure. The IT team was determined to find a new solution that met future requirements and growth while improving performance, scalability, high-availability and provide disaster recovery options?
Harro Höfliger had only two solution requirements at the outset of procurement: they wanted to continue using VMware for virtualization and Fujitsu for hardware, as they had used these solutions for years and wanted to leverage their employee’s knowledge of these solutions going forward to reduce the learning curve for new tools. “Our entire server farm of around 300 virtual machines ran on VMware and Fujitsu, and we wanted to keep it that way,” recalls Karsten Ehrlich, Division Leader IT at Harro Höfliger. “We’ve also had very good experiences with our partner EBF Systec over the past few decades. From our perspective, there was no reason to change. On the contrary, we’ve benefited from the fact that EBF and Fujitsu know us so well and that we can trust these partners.”
vSAN Powered HCI Runs on Multiple Hardware Options from Fujitsu
Based on these framework conditions, the partner, EBF Systec, initiated comprehensive consulting with Harro Höfliger and presented the medium-sized company with a concept for a paradigm shift: migration to a hyperconverged IT infrastructure based on VMware vSAN with the Fujitsu Integrated System PRIMEFLEX. As VMware’s HCI solution has the industry’s leading hardware ecosystem, Harro Höfliger had a variety of deployment options from Fujitsu to meet their needs, including both jointly-certified x86 servers, or ReadyNodes, or integrated systems such as PRIMEFLEX. Harro Höfliger also chose to perform a proof of concept (POC) before procuring PRIMEFLEX.
Granular Scaling Enables Harro Höfliger to Evolve Over Time to a Highly Available Solution
In the long term, Harro Höfliger will establish two identical data centers in a stretched cluster solution for high availability. If one machine in a data center fails, the other data center takes over without users noticing the change, keeping employees and manufacturing running. Ten Fujitsu Server PRIMERGY RX2540 systems serve as the hardware basis. Some 300 applications run on the virtualized servers, including an ERP and CRM system, SharePoint, many SQL servers and other applications that Harro Höfliger has successively migrated to the new environment. The initial setup took only a few days.
Because vSAN powered HCI can scale granularly, Harro Höfliger plans to implement their highly available solution over time. Gradual procurement better matches their business’s procurement plans by avoiding a large, up-front purchase.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure Provides Additional Cost Savings
Two other Karsten Ehrlich is delighted with the optimal utilization of the approximately 75TB of comprehensive storage, thanks to deduplication and compression. “We could furnish our nodes with additional RAM without a loss of performance because we utilize the storage so efficiently. We achieve two to three times the compression ratio and are currently using only about 50 TB of storage.” important benefits are simple administration and transparency. “The management and administration of computing and storage are performed in the familiar vCenter. At the press of a button, the customer sees the amount of resources available or allocated,” explains Christian Bahler.