Bene protects its just-in-time production with Veeam

Bene protects its just-in-time production with Veeam

Bene, a specialist in the design and furnishing of modern office and work environments, needed a powerful backup solution that would reliably protect the company’s digital processes and meet rising demand. Joerg Baumgartner, CIO at Bene, tells us how Veeam helped it to achieve this.

The way people work today is undergoing a fundamental change. Work and office environments are changing as a result of digitalisation, new leadership, organisational cultures and the growing importance of the home office. One company that has been shaping this change for a long time is the Austrian Bene Group. The international office expert is specialised in furnishing modern office and work environments. Bene develops innovative concepts with high design quality and provides tailormade solutions for all sizes of companies — from start-ups to medium-sized businesses and global corporations.

Bene’s company history goes back well over 200 years. The company originally emerged from a joinery founded in 1790. But today, Bene is anything but a traditional company. The manufacturer relies on agile methods and lean, order-driven just-in-time production that can be quickly adapted to changing market and customer requirements.

“End-to-end digitalised processes with highly flexible data organisation are a key prerequisite for our strategy,” said Joerg Baumgartner, CIO at Bene. “This is the only way we are able to offer our customers such a varied product range at competitive costs.”

The digital ‘customer journey’ begins with the first consultation. Thanks to state-of-the-art planning software with support for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, customers can get an early idea of their future office environment and take a virtual look around the planned rooms. As soon as the order is signed, all necessary data is transferred to production planning and production starts. In just-in-time production, all work processes are highly automated and connected — even beyond the company’s borders: many of Bene’s suppliers are also integrated into the order and production process via digital interfaces.

“Consistent digitalisation at all levels also means for us that without a functioning IT system, our production comes to a standstill very quickly,” said Baumgartner. “If a critical application were to fail for more than 24 hours, there would already be noticeable delays in delivery and loss of sales.”

Bene must therefore ensure that all important IT resources for development, design and production are available without interruption if possible — not only at the headquarters in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, but also in the more than 20 other branches worldwide. The company was therefore looking for a powerful backup solution that would reliably protect the company’s digital processes. The software previously used for this purpose could no longer keep pace with the growing requirements.

The Veeam solution

After evaluating different solution variants, Bene decided to use Veeam Backup & Replication. “The overall package convinced us from the very beginning,” said Baumgartner. “Veeam combines in one solution all the functions we need for the simple and reliable backup and recovery of our workloads. It not only allows us to maximise the availability of our IT resources, but also to significantly reduce our operational expenses.”

Bene initially implemented Veeam Backup & Replication as a backup solution for its virtualised infrastructure based on VMware vSphere. Today, more than 200 virtual machines with a total volume of around 160 terabytes are delivered with high availability using this solution. In addition to the systems in the two main data centres in Waidhofen, this includes data and applications from all other company locations. These are regularly transferred to Waidhofen and backed up there with Veeam Backup & Replication.

With this solution, Bene ensures that all employees always have access to their business applications. Should the planning software fail, for example, the IT organisation can restart the affected virtual machine directly from the backup. Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery technology reduces the recovery time from hours to minutes, ensuring that Bene employees can resume their work very quickly. Accidentally deleted files or folders on file servers can be made available again in no time.

The new solution also makes work easier for Bene’s IT experts. Many processes related to data backup have been automated with Veeam. For example, manual backup and recovery tests are no longer necessary — Veeam’s SureBackup technology continuously checks the recoverability of backed-up IT resources in the background. “This alone saves us many hours of work every month,” said Baumgartner. “At the same time, the detailed reports give us the certainty that all backup jobs have really been successful.”

Bene therefore soon extended the Veeam solution to the remaining physical servers. Today, the company’s central Oracle cluster is also backed up with Veeam technology. Depending on this system is, among other things, the technical configuration software that generates the digital parts, lists and work plans. A failure would quickly bring furniture production to a standstill. The Veeam solution, on the other hand, guarantees smooth, secure operation. The IT department is thus able to create transaction-consistent backups of the Oracle cluster and reset the database to a specific point in time, if necessary.

“It is a great advantage for us that we do not have to operate different backup solutions for physical and virtual IT,” said Baumgartner. “With Veeam, we now have a central solution to protect our digital business processes from planning, to production and logistics and to bring the availability of all applications to a higher level.”

Bene therefore also relied on the support of Veeam for the introduction of Microsoft Office 365. Around 550 office users in the group now use services such as Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams for their daily work. All data stored in the Microsoft cloud is automatically backed up with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 in Bene’s data centre. Should important emails or documents in the cloud be accidentally deleted, IT can restore them at any time using the familiar functions of Veeam.

“Especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft’s cloud services have played an important role in virtual collaboration at Bene,” said Baumgartner. “Users can use them to communicate and exchange information with internal and external contacts very easily, even in the home office. But location-independent working must not be at the expense of data security. This is why we decided to use Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. It gives us full control over our data and allows us to decide where and for how long we want to keep it.”

The results
  • Maximum IT availability for digital business processes: With Veeam, Bene ensures that data and applications for sales, development, production and logistics are always available. In the event of a failure, the affected systems can be restored within minutes. In this way, Bene prevents delays in delivery for its customers.
  • Savings of around 20% in IT operating costs: Many tasks relating to the backup and recovery of data have been automated with Veeam. The SureBackup technology eliminates the need for manual recovery tests, for example. Baumgartner estimates that this has reduced operating expenses by around 20%.
  • Future-proof platform — also for cloud-based workloads: Bene uses Veeam technology not only for physical and virtual IT resources in its own data centre, but also for securing cloud services. Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 helps the company to reliably protect office data — no matter where users work. This made it easier to connect home office users during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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