Business challenge

Customers count on their insurer when things go wrong—so a rapid, reliable response is vital. To ensure it always delivers, W&W-Group wanted to recover quickly in the unlikely event of IT disaster.

Transformation

W&W-Group deployed a highly-available backup solution based on IBM Storage systems and IBM® Spectrum™ technology with help from SVA, enabling backup, storage and recovery of critical data.

Results

Higher

customer satisfaction thanks to greater service continuity

Faster

failover of the backup environment ensures rapid disaster recovery

Delivers

annual cost savings thanks to lower system maintenance requirements

Business challenge story

Ready for anything

Clients depend on their insurers to provide a safety net—but what use is that protection if it fails you just when you need it most? Companies like W&W-Group need to make sure their internal systems are always available.

“We can now perform our daily backups much faster, enabling us to back up our workloads much more efficiently.”

—Michael Mehrens, Competence Center Storage, W&W Informatik GmbH

W&W-Group places a great deal of importance on recovering systems rapidly in the event of disaster, as Michael Mehrens, Competence Center Storage at W&W Informatik GmbH, explains: “More than six million people across Germany rely on W&W-Group to protect their financial assets. If we were to suffer a power outage at one of our data centers, for example, and systems were to go down unexpectedly, the impact on the business would be significant. To prevent disruption to customer services, we need to restore data from mission-critical applications as quickly as possible.

“As such, we are always working to reduce backup and restore times. In the event of disaster, it’s not acceptable to take days, or even hours, to get key applications back up and running. We want to deliver more reliable services. But with our databases growing in size all the time, demand on systems keeps increasing. To further improve availability, we decided to take advantage of new IBM backup and storage technologies to accelerate our backup times, improve our disaster recovery processes, and ensure complete continuity of customer services.”

“Supported by IBM infrastructure and software-defined storage technology, we can be sure of keeping operations running smoothly and always delivering a good service to customers and staff.”

—Michael Mehrens, Competence Center Storage, W&W Informatik GmbH

Transformation story

Deploying the latest and greatest technology

With data protection and availability requirements rising, W&W IT continually assesses its infrastructure. As a result of these proactive reviews, the company decided to take advantage of software-defined storage and flash technology to improve scalability and speed. In this case, this was done with help from IBM and IBM Business Partner SVA System Vertrieb Alexander GmbH (SVA).

W&W-Group implemented a flexible, high-performance backup cloud solution based on IBM Spectrum Protect™, IBM Spectrum Scale™, IBM FlashSystem® 900 and IBM Storwize® V7000 solutions, connecting the new systems to its existing IBM TS3500 Tape Library.

“We have worked with both IBM and SVA for many years,” says Michael Mehrens. “As we’ve come to expect from both teams, support has been excellent and everything ran smoothly during the implementation phase.”

Multiple IBM Spectrum Protect instances, deployed across two data centers, back up mission-critical databases and application servers in parallel, and store the data in IBM Spectrum Scale, a clustered scale-out file system. In the event of disaster at one location, the IBM backup solution fails over to the second site much faster than in the past, ensuring rapid recovery and complete data protection.

Michael Mehrens remarks: “We use the IBM solution to backup 2,000 systems and applications. This includes everything from our most critical database instances that power our SAP applications, to the application servers, our IBM WebSphere® solutions, file servers, and mail server. The backups also cover large IBM AIX® systems, which run our SAS data warehouse. We back up 50 to 60 TB of data with the IBM Spectrum Protect solution daily. In total, we store around 8 PB of backup data mostly on tape."

Results story

Rapid recovery for continuous operations

Supported by IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM FlashSystem technology, IBM Spectrum Protect offers dramatically improved performance. Thanks to parallelization with IBM Spectrum Scale and low latency, backups can be performed more rapidly and available storage resources used more efficiently than in the past.

Michael Mehrens elaborates: “We can now perform our daily backups much faster, enabling us to back up our workloads much more efficiently. The IBM technology also enables us to restore data in less time, helping us to rapidly get business-critical applications up and running in the event of unexpected downtime. Faster backup times also ensure that we can reliably process ever-growing volumes of data in a shorter amount of time.”

With the backup and recovery solution based on IBM Spectrum Protect, W&W-Group simplified IT backup infrastructure management and administration. Michael Mehrens comments: “Moving management data to IBM FlashSystem without any manual optimization helped to improve performance of housekeeping jobs by more than 20 percent. And upgrading to the latest release of IBM Spectrum Protect reduced the size of the internal management database by more than 80 percent. As well as helping to accelerate recovery procedures, standardizing our backup infrastructure is another benefit. Thanks to lower maintenance expenses, we’ve been able to reduce annual operating costs.”

Satisfied with the IBM Spectrum Protect solution, W&W-Group wants to boost its backup and recovery processes even further. W&W IT is currently considering migrating to the latest IBM POWER® processors and is exploring the benefits of in-line deduplication in IBM Spectrum Protect.

Michael Mehrens concludes: “With IBM and SVA, we managed to implement a scalable, flexible and fast backup and recovery solution that helps us to deliver the best possible service to customers. Being able to restore data faster minimizes the impact of IT disaster on services, helping to ensure a seamless customer experience. Embracing innovations such as in-line deduplication will enable us to further improve storage efficiency. Supported by IBM infrastructure and software-defined storage technology, we can be sure of keeping operations running smoothly and always delivering a good service to customers and staff.”

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About W&W-Group

Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG (W&W-Group) is a publicly-held company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. The financial service provider is active in two business segments: building society savings and insurance. W&W-Group delivers the four building blocks of modern financial security: insurance, home ownership, risk protection and asset management. Its central IT service provider, W&W Informatik GmbH (W&W IT), manages the group’s IT applications, data centers and network. Based in Ludwigsburg, W&W IT employs around 950 people.

Take the next step

To learn more about IBM Spectrum Storage and IBM Spectrum Protect, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/systems/storage/spectrum/

SVA System Vertrieb Alexander GmbH (SVA) is one of Germany’s leading systems integrators, specializing in data center infrastructure solutions. Operating 16 offices across the country, the company employs more than 650 IT specialists. To learn more about products and services from SVA, visit: www.sva.de/en/index.html

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