Challenge: To accelerate product innovation and dramatically cut costs, Brose aimed to transform operational efficiency.
Solution: Brose built a state-of-the-art data center, featuring ultra-efficient technology to support its global operations.
Brose is one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers, employing more than 25,000 people at 60 locations across 23 countries. Its mechatronic systems for doors, seats, electric motors and drives can be found in every second new vehicle around the world.
To maintain its market position, the company invests heavily in leading-edge innovation. As an example, Brose is working on new and innovative products that help its customers enhance the efficiency of electric and conventional vehicles.
For autonomous vehicles, Brose is developing new adjustment systems for the vehicle interiors, along with power opening and closing side doors. Brose also has launched an efficient electric drive for
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Director of Information Technology at Brose Group, Frank Martin, begins: “The automotive sector is highly competitive, and as we expand and innovate we need to keep a firm grip on costs. We constantly search for ways to boost operational efficiency: for example, by digitizing and streamlining processes, and taking advantage of internet of things (IoT) technology on our production line. To meet our aims, we are undertaking a massive digital transformation of our operations.
“To embrace the new ways of working, we want to be able to capture, store and analyze more data than ever before. That presents a monumental challenge, because data volumes are rising by 25% year on year. It is essential to manage the data reliably and cost-effectively, or the project could be halted in its tracks.”
To prepare for the road ahead, Brose decided to move its IT operations to a new, state-of-the-art data center. From that site, a central IT team would support the company’s global operations, helping to achieve economies of scale, boost efficiency and reduce costs.
Within that digital transformation program, Brose looked for ways to rationalize its existing data storage landscape, aiming to cut costs, simplify administration and reduce complexity.
Storage Team Lead at Brose Group, Christian Karl, explains: “We felt that Hitachi Vantara’s solutions offered an excellent fit for our business, because they give us the flexibility to support different storage classes cost-effectively. Hitachi Vantara provided excellent support in the planning and implementation phases of the deployment, helping us get the new systems up and running fast. Additionally, the Hitachi storage is easy to manage and offers exceptional scalability.”
He added, “Using Hitachi’s flash modules helps us achieve faster performance and higher storage density to be ready for future growth compared to standard SSD [solid state disk] configurations.”
The Hitachi solution supports the company’s mission-critical SAP enterprise resource planning applications, as well as specialized systems, such as computer-aided design, across different computing platforms, hypervisor technologies and operating systems.
In total, Brose consolidated to 50% fewer storage devices, helping to ease the burden of system administration. Compared with the previous storage infrastructure, the new Hitachi Vantara solutions deliver a three-fold boost in throughput and halved response times for mission-critical SAP applications. And they offer immediate business productivity gains.
Karl continues: “The Hitachi storage provides a sound, reliable foundation for our global operations. High availability and fast performance are both essential, as our automotive customers rely on just-in-sequence manufacturing, and we regularly produce and ship goods at short notice.”
Martin adds: “Using leading flash data storage technology from Hitachi Vantara helps us achieve faster performance and higher storage density, in readiness for future growth. Because we can store more data on fewer devices, we have freed up 66% of the rack space consumed by our previous storage infrastructure. Having fewer devices translates into lower energy and cooling requirements, helping us pursue a greener IT strategy and saving a total of 700,000 kWh per year. The combined savings have enabled us to slash storage costs by 30%, sharpening our competitive edge.”
The ultra-reliable, cost-effective storage solutions from Hitachi are key components of Brose’s digital transformation, helping the company boost operational efficiency and accommodate extraordinary growth in its data volumes. In the future, Brose will be looking at the potential of hybrid cloud storage solutions to further optimize its storage landscape, enabled by the Hitachi solutions.
Martin concludes: “To stay ahead of trends and continue to improve our operations, we rely on powerful and flexible storage solutions from Hitachi. With cutting-edge technology from Hitachi, Brose can take the fast lane towards innovation, digital transformation and commercial success.”
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