Inetum-Realdolmen helps Arlanxeo Belgium set up new backup environment

Inetum-Realdolmen helps Arlanxeo Belgium set up new backup environment

Setting up an entirely new IT environment was the challenge chemical company Arlanxeo faced a few years back. Fortunately, the company in Belgium was able to benefit from the professional support provided by Inetum-Realdolmen to bring the backup part of the process to a successful conclusion. "I'm most impressed by the flexibility of their support engineers," says Bruno De Smet, IT Manager at Arlanxeo Belgium.

Arlanxeo was established in 2016 as a joint venture between the German chemical group Lanxess and the Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco. In late 2018, Arlanxeo passed into the full ownership of Saudi Aramco. Until then, the company had been able to use an umbrella IT infrastructure that it shared with Lanxess, but now it had to work quickly to create its own IT environment. "From the network and the servers to the clients, and from the ERP system to the workplace: we had to rebuild everything," recalls Bruno De Smet.

Continuity in backup

"As part of that mission, we implemented many major innovations in just a few years," continues the IT Manager. "For example, we went from Lotus Notes to Outlook and from Windows 7 to Windows 10. We went from the Lanxess data center to an Azure data center. And we traded our former MPLS network for an SD-WAN."

It goes without saying that not every part of Arlanxeo's ICT infrastructure was due for such a thorough, sweeping overhaul. The Belgian branch in Zwijndrecht, where about 350 employees work, consciously opted for continuity in the backup of its local production data. It decided to simply split the existing Commvault shared platform in the first instance. "We were satisfied with Commvault's backup solution. It combines flexibility and stability," explains Bruno De Smet. His experience is that Commvault ensures very high-quality, mature technology that allows fine-grained management of the backup and recovery infrastructure.

"We had no compelling reason to change backup providers. And we didn't exactly have time to spare either." That made Arlanxeo Belgium choose the path of least resistance for that essential part of its IT infrastructure. Which, incidentally, was by no means a simple undertaking. Bruno De Smet is well aware that you can't just split off and migrate an existing Commvault solution out of the box. That's why he called in the help of external, certified specialists from Inetum-Realdolmen

And to me, that's also the greatest added value of an ICT partner such as Inetum-Realdolmen: as a trusted advisor, they can also contribute their thoughts about all kinds of peripheral systems, such as the ESX servers, and then give us the advice we need.

Bruno De Smet | IT manager @ Arlanxeo Belgium

More than migration

In the past, Arlanxeo turned to Commvault itself for support. But as a Commvault Authorized Support Partner (CASP) – a rather rare profile in Belgium – Inetum-Realdolmen can also provide first- and second-line support directly to its customers. It is only with serious problems or bugs in the software that the customer still has to turn directly to Commvault. "That's a great convenience," says Bruno De Smet. "On top of that, Inetum-Realdolmen is very flexible. Even in hectic times, such as we've experienced in the last few years. If there are problems, you can easily reach their support engineers. And then you can directly ask a specialist to take a look. The threshold is really low."

"An integrator like Inetum-Realdolmen can also help with much more than just that migration," emphasizes Bruno De Smet. "Inetum-Realdolmen also provided an upgrade of our Commvault software, for instance. Plus, we could also turn to them for an upgrade of our hardware systems. We replaced our tape drives, among other things, in one fell swoop. Last but not least, they were also involved in a project to upgrade our VMware ESX server environment. This meant that they were able to coordinate the upgrades of both critical environments and transform them into a perfectly integrated entity. We couldn't have asked Commvault to do all that in the past, of course. And to me, that's also the greatest added value of an ICT partner such as Inetum-Realdolmen: as a trusted advisor, they can also contribute their thoughts about all kinds of peripheral systems, such as the ESX servers, and then give us the advice we need."

More than a backup Arlanxeo Belgium only deploys Commvault for the backup of all production-related data stored on their local servers and databases. Data in the ERP system or in centrally hosted systems is not included. What's more, all local production data is stored not only on disk, but also on tape. "This provides us with the necessary offline backup," explains Bruno De Smet. "This can be particularly necessary in case of cyberattacks, and thus strengthens our security. It also enables us to resume our business after a disaster. In the past, Arlanxeo Belgium also used tape somewhat out of necessity, because it only had limited bandwidth. Fortunately, that problem has been solved. We can now look forward to cloud backups," says Bruno De Smet.

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