Vanheede revamps IT infrastructure with Dell Technologies and Inetum-Realdolmen

Vanheede revamps IT infrastructure with Dell Technologies and Inetum-Realdolmen

Vanheede Environment Group optimizes its processes through innovation. That required a digital transformation, backed by a revamping of both the data center and the employee workplace. Vanheede called on the expertise of ICT partner Inetum-Realdolmen to successfully meet both challenges.

Data centre and workplace renewal at Vanheede

Vanheede is originally a West Flanders waste group, stemming from the logistics services branch of the waste management sector. Since 1968, the Group has grown into a total service provider in sustainable waste management and processing. With more than 900 employees across 13 branches in Belgium and France, and around 20,000 professional customers, both private and public, the Group ranks among the top in the Benelux and Northern France.

Innovating to recycle

“We have long since moved beyond just providing logistics services,” says Ken Richings, ICT Operations Team Lead at the Group. “Every waste stream we collect – and there are already more than 2300 – we process as much as possible into new raw material or energy.” Annually, the Group processes about 1,000,000 tons of waste, more than 95% of which finds another useful application.

As an integrated environmental company active in the circular economy, Vanheede is committed to innovation and digitizing, continuing to transform their business in a data-driven way, with a customer-centric mindset.

Improved availability, performance and flexibility

An important requirement for successfully implementing this new way of working is that the underlying ICT infrastructure be geared to it. “Very high availability is an absolute must,” Richings acknowledges. "That’s why we duplicated our central data center and equipped it with redundant HA clusters. So we replaced the traditional servers and storage systems in our data center with a new, hyperconverged infrastructure."

A hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution provides computing power, storage capacity and virtualizing capabilities in a single device. In addition to high availability, it also guarantees high performance. At the same time, Vanheede’s improved performance is due to the investment in a 100 Gbit backbone, where 25 or 40 Gbit is common today. “An exceptional choice,” Richings observes, "which also goes to show that we’re forerunners. However, extensive preliminary tests showed that the backbone's performance is essential for a successful transition to an HCI solution."

Vanheede is also making that investment with a view to the long-term. "It supports our future growth. In the coming years, we will only process more data." The fact that an HCI solution allows for more flexibility is an added bonus in this regard. In the past, Vanheede had been increasingly frustrated by the lack of flexibility when upgrading the components of the old data center infrastructure.

Dell EMC VxRail

Vanheede evaluated the HCI offering of several suppliers. VxRail from Dell EMC emerged as the best solution. "The other options simply did not deliver the expected performance." What the team also appreciated very much was the generous amount of time Dell EMC allowed them to test the technology. Live Optics, the data center analysis tool provided free of charge by Dell EMC, which mapped the entire IT environment, including performance, also came in handy.

In the search for an ICT partner who could support the VxRail implementation, Vanheede soon knocked on Inetum-Realdolmen’s door. "That company was already our partner for managed services." Once Vanheede’s data center infrastructure was also in need of revamping, the relationship took on an added dimension. When the implementation phase is over, Inetum-Realdolmen will continue to manage and maintain the new platform. It doesn't stop there: in the next step, Inetum-Realdolmen will be implementing VxRail at three waste processing sites.

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Workplace as a Service

In addition to the data center, the digital workplace needed to be renovated. In doing so, Vanheede decided to switch to a new managed service: Workplace as a Service, or WpaaS for short.

“We used to buy our PCs ourselves and replace them at the end of their life cycle,” recalls Ken Richings. "We also installed, managed and maintained the devices ourselves, which is quite labor-intensive. However, as long as your PC inventory is relatively limited, it's still manageable, even though there may be little uniformity of the models used. In the next phase, we started leasing PCs, but we were still responsible for all the necessary service ourselves. In the meantime, our PC inventory had grown to around 450 devices: large enough to be purchased as a service from an external supplier."

Within the WpaaS formula, Vanheede employees have a limited number of laptops and desktops to choose from, depending on their role. Orders are placed quickly and efficiently via Rstore, Inetum-Realdolmen’s order portal. Inetum-Realdolmen then delivers the devices with the correct image and correctly labeled to the IT department. If the WpaaS formula is expanded, Vanheede will switch to white glove delivery, where Inetum-Realdolmen will deliver a new device ready for use at the employee’s workplace. This frees up the Vanheede IT department’s time for other tasks.

“The big advantage is that now we always have devices available,” says Richings. “When someone needs a new device, it’s done quickly.” The comprehensive insurance provided in the WpaaS contract is also interesting in this regard. “Lastly, we attach great importance to Inetum-Realdolmen’s support in our sustainability vision through the WpaaS offer,” concludes Richings. For example, the choice of equipment takes into account the CO2 impact, and what happens to the equipment taken out of use is quite transparent. This obviously fits perfectly with our company's DNA."

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