Coficab is a global provider of design, manufacturing and sales of automotive cables and wires. A subsidiary of the Elloumi Group, the company was founded in 1992 by Hichem Elloumi. Recently, the company partnered with Veeam to standardise its backup strategy as it continues modernise its IT infrastructure and enhance operations. Manda Banda finds out why Coficab selected Veeam to ensure data availability, integrity and security of its IT infrastructure.
A member of Elloumi Group, Coficab is a Tunisian global company specialised in the design, manufacturing and sales of automotive electric wires and cables. The company, which employs 4,500 people, is located in 13 countries with 13 production sites, six advanced distribution centres and three centres of excellence. As an international manufacturer at the forefront of technology, Coficab is focused on innovation and a range of high value-added products for all future trends in the automotive industry.
The business challenge
“One in five cars in the world is designed with Coficab cables, which are certified by the world’s main leading car manufacturers and attach great importance to the quality of the customer experience,” explained Sami Benzid, Corporate IT Infrastructure Manager, Coficab. In addition to being renowned for the quality of its products, Coficab is at the forefront of technology and places innovation at the heart of its strategy, with a significant budget allocated to research and development (R&D), to offer high value-added products that meet the specific needs of its customers.
Coficab’s operations run, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year and the entire production chain is fully dependent on IT infrastructure. The need for availability is crucial for Coficab. Any business interruption, due to a server failure, a computer attack or any other cause, is synonymous with great difficulty for Coficab towards its internal teams and its customers.
Walid Nasri, Project Manager, Corporate IT Infrastructure, Coficab, said: “After a 15or 30 minute downtime, we start to receive telephone calls in droves to the IT team, demanding that we restore IT service availability as soon as possible for production to resume with minimal impact. It is our daily life. When downtimes longer than 30 minutes occur — and they do sometimes – they partially affect our production process and may even lead to a delivery stop in the most extreme cases. They also affect the company’s reputation and financial situation, as customers may demand penalties or reimbursement of transportation costs, which represents considerable sums of money.”
To this end, the main mission of the IT team is to ensure data availability, integrity and security, and the recovery after incidents as soon as possible. The situation was made even more complex by the distributed nature of data backup management on Coficab’s various production sites. “Initially, each of our sites operated with its own backup solution and strategy, without any resembling another. This was a huge waste of time, money and efficiency for us,” added Benzid.
As a result of its international expansion and the growth of its business, Coficab decided to standardise its backup strategy across all its 13 sites, in order to put an end to this management complexity and contain ballooning costs.
The Veeam solution
After a quick audit of the backup solutions available on the market, Veeam was able to make the difference by its ability to provide the most appropriate technical response to Coficab’s initial problems thanks to the speed, reliability and efficiency of the backup vendor’s solution. As Veeam was already used on 70% of Coficab’s sites, the IT teams had the opportunity to test and approve its benefits over time on many occasions and to welcome the quality of the support offered by Veeam, whether in terms of listening and the reactivity or professionalism of the technical and commercial teams.
To achieve the standardisation of Coficab’s backup architecture, the IT corporate team has implemented a solution called ‘Umbrella’, built on a central Veeam server that centrally manages the servers located at each production site. The goal is to leverage a central point of supervision with Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager to improve backup visibility at the sites’ level and allocate data centre resources as needed.
The Umbrella architecture was made possible thanks to Veeam Backup and Replication EnterpriseTM, which make it very easy and fast to extend a single backup strategy to all existing sites, regardless of where they are located and to allow data to flow between sites with much greater flexibility.
“Before Veeam, we operated in very complex environments, all different. Everything has become easier thanks to Veeam and the Umbrella architecture, which allows us to have a single contract with a single license file for all sites and for the cloud,” Benzid explained. “We have become more efficient at all levels, both in our daily site management and for the deployment of a new site.”
According to Benzid, the solution also made it possible for Coficab to optimise, license and purchase instead of juggling between several different versions of Veeam and several different licenses between sites.
As the central site of the Umbrella architecture is located in the cloud, a two-week proof of concept (PoC) was conducted to evaluate the use of Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager on this cloud, before Coficab confirmed its final choice for its new standardised backup architecture.
Nasri added that: “Veeam has so many advantages that it is barely necessary to test it beforehand, you just have to install it as soon as possible.”
Coficab also benefits from the backup supervision of all its sites as well as the restoration of data with Veeam Direct Restore and was able to reduce file recovery time from minutes to seconds.
The standardisation of the backup solution at group level brings immediate benefits to the IT team collaborators, starting with a 90% reduction in the backup time of virtual machines at each site, in addition to a guarantee of reliable backup quality.
“On some sites, we went from two days to only 1.5 hours to backup all virtual machines, for a total of about 4TB. On all sites, the time required to perform the full backup is now between 1.5 and four hours, for a total of 4 to 10TB of data and between 20 and 30 virtual machines. The time reduction is invested with our teams who can focus on other more value-added tasks such as managing internal customers’ needs or conducting regular audits,” said Benzid.
By extension, Coficab’s operational teams at each production site also benefit from these advantages, which result in greater peace of mind in the event of unavailable IT services and the resulting business interruptions.
With its new optimised backup architecture, Coficab also ensures that it meets the high product quality requirements of its end customers, namely cable companies.
Building on the success of the redesign of its backup architecture, Coficab is already considering the next step. Benzid explained that: “We are currently studying the value of setting up cross-site backups or adopting an Infrastructure-As-a-Service to regionalise our backup. One thing is certain: the next improvements we will make to our system will be based on Veeam solutions, with the Veeam Cloud Connect and Veeam Backup for Office 365 solutions as the 2020 outlook.”
Coficab has successfully achieved standardisation of the backup architecture from an initially distributed and complex infrastructure. By moving from the old backup architecture distributed across multiple sites to a single, centralised backup solution, Coficab’s IT teams have gained in daily management time and efficiency, while saving money by optimising the purchase of backup licenses.
In addition, Coficab has seen a 90% reduction in backup windows and on all sites, the time required to perform a complete backup of virtual machines is now between 1,5 and 4 hours, for a total of 4 to 10TB of data and 20 to 30 virtual machines. This, stated the manufacturer, represents an essential saving in time and backup performance for Coficab’s business, whose production is entirely IT dependent and suffers direct losses with each persistent failure. Veeam solutions have allowed resources to be allocated centrally for greater efficiency and the benefits that directly impact IT teams by providing them with greater peace of mind and less pressure on a daily basis. As a result, production teams and end customers have also benefited from these improvements.Click below to share this article