Challenge: Deliver ultrareliable services for a wide range of Austrian social and health insurers.
Solution: Enhance stability and speed with Hitachi Vantara storage, content and analytics solutions.
When millions of citizens rely on your services, stability and availability form the cornerstones of your IT strategy. That’s certainly the case for SVD Büromanagement GmbH. SVD delivers critical business and procurement processes to four major Austrian social and health insurers, with two million clients spread across the country.
Herbert Scheibelhofer, CTO at SVD, explains, “We perform an essential role for insurers, and above all aim to deliver rock-solid, reliable services. In turn, we need an IT infrastructure that provides the performance and robustness that allows us to deliver on that promise to our clients.
Additionally, we look for solutions that give us the agility to respond fast to changes to the strict compliance rules of the industry.”
With its four clients looking to merge to form two new entities, SVD realized it would be a smart move to rethink and optimize important workflows. It launched a transformation strategy focused on standardizing and consolidating key processes to support the transition. One major goal was to ensure swift delivery of capacity and performance on short notice to help clients that are performing demanding test and development work.
IT Services: Insurance
Data Center Modernization:
and Big Data Integration and Analytics
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G600 (all-flash)
Hitachi Content Platform G10
Infrastructure, transformation and customer support services provided by Hitachi Vantara Global Services
“We always look to align our approach with the goals of our clients, to accelerate the next steps of their digital journey,” says Christian Schöll, Digital Expert at SVD. “Many of our clients’ key processes are centered on document and customer data management, placing huge demands on our storage and archiving resources. We looked to deploy best-in-class infrastructure that would provide the flexibility to help them innovate.”
After evaluating solutions from many leading infrastructure vendors, SVD decided to work with Hitachi Vantara to support its central services delivery for 4,500 business users. SVD deployed a comprehensive data management platform formed of Hitachi’s all-flash, content, data integration and analytics solutions.
“We take tremendous care when selecting our infrastructure partners, as we have experienced issues with other vendors in the past. With Hitachi Vantara, we found the ideal blend of performance, flexibility and expertise,” Scheibelhofer confirms. “Supported by the Hitachi solutions, we knew we could be confident when addressing our clients that we have all the bases covered to keep them happy.”
SVD implemented two new Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G600 systems with all-flash configuration to renew its data infrastructure. All business applications at SVD use Hitachi storage, while the global-active device functionality of Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System RF continuously mirrors all data across two data centers. This configuration ensures continuous availability and significantly reduces the risk of disruption. SVD also uses Hitachi Infrastructure Analytics Advisor software to gain real-time insights into storage performance and to spot and resolve issues before they affect customers.
Most IT workloads at SVD are fully virtualized. The company runs its servers and databases in a VMware environment and hosts virtualized desktops based on Citrix and Microsoft Hyper-V software. SVD operates a broad portfolio of applications, including standard solutions such as Microsoft SharePoint to facilitate collaboration. The hosted business applications use many different databases, ranging from Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server to the open source solutions PostgreSQL and MySQL.
In addition, SVD deployed two Hitachi Content Platform G10 systems to run an archiving solution for its clients. “Our clients develop and run their own core applications,” Schöll explains. “They deal with sensitive healthcare data and have to comply with complex regulations. To make their lives easier, we decided to use an object storage system with a simple and reliable API. The development teams can build on the API to seamlessly integrate with Hitachi Content Platform and move data to the secure, scalable and centralized repository for easy management,” he elaborates.
SVD has also implemented Hitachi Vantara’s Pentaho Data Integration to allow clients to automate analytics workflows. The Pentaho solution helps clients to streamline reporting processes to ensure they can gain speedy access to up-to-date information, including financial and compliance summaries.
Supported by Hitachi Vantara, SVD is delivering a consistently high-quality service to its customers. Clients now enjoy exceptionally reliable business applications with zero downtime and benefit from faster storage performance. Scheibelhofer remarks, “Some batch processes now run 30% faster than before. Data volumes are increasing constantly, so this performance improvement is crucial for our clients. Thanks to faster task runtimes, they can access current business information whenever they need it, even as pressure on the infrastructure continues to grow.”
The service provider also simplified its storage management and reduced complexity when it moved to flash storage. “Working with Hitachi Vantara, we developed a solution that supports innovation and more agile workflows. An all-flash configuration was the most cost-efficient storage solution for us, with the added benefit of better performance,” Schöll says.
By working collaboratively with Hitachi Vantara, SVD also achieved a fast implementation and data migration. “Hitachi Vantara has shown us commitment and support throughout. They offered creative solutions when it was most important for our business,” recalls Scheibelhofer. “Our relationship has become a true partnership that allows for continuous improvement of our solution architecture. We value the regular contact with Hitachi Vantara to make sure we use the systems and resources in the best ways possible. We discuss our requirements with the Hitachi team, which helps to run reliable services for our clients cost-efficiently.”
The new Hitachi Vantara environment has also allowed SVD to consolidate its storage resources, unlock valuable operational efficiencies, and gain enhanced flexibility. Schöll comments, “The scalability of the Hitachi Vantara storage is exceptional, allowing us to deliver additional capacity to our clients whenever required and in a quick timeframe. This is especially relevant now, at a time when our clients merge and transform their businesses. We are even considering adding a third data center location, as well as the potential of cloud and hybrid cloud offerings,” he adds.
“Working with Hitachi Vantara has been an excellent experience, and we will continue to keep an eye on their latest solutions and services. Thanks to our close collaboration, we are now ready for future challenges to take the next steps in our digital transformation journey,” Scheibelhofer concludes.
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