Stratus enables always-on vehicle production
MAN Nutzfahrzeuge is one of Europe’s leading vehicle manufacturers. The company offers a range of innovative and reliable trucks and buses, which aim to set the standard in all of their market segments. The company also backs up its expertise and commitment to the industry with a range of services that allow customers to operate with maximum economy and efficiency.
To ensure a smooth operation of the MAN Group’s commercial vehicles unit, all of its facilities are connected to MAN’s central IT system. From a business performance perspective, it is vital that its servers are continuously available, as any unscheduled downtime could lead to a loss of data, applications, or even to a complete disruption of production and services.
That is why MAN IT Services use a fault-tolerant availability solution from Stratus that protects the mission-critical applications of the commercial vehicles factory in Munich, and more than 200 locations in Germany and Europe.
MAN IT Services was originally introduced to the technology by German partner, iTaurus. Following months of successful use, MAN IT Services now uses Stratus solutions across the company to protect mission-critical applications and data.
- One of Europe’s leading vehicle manufacturers with 34,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of €8.7 billion
- Supports mission-critical process control and production control software
- State-of-the-art solution, using Stratus® everRun® FT and Stratus® SplitSite®, allows two servers to operate simultaneously in 100% lock-step
- Two physical servers within the everRun FT environment are geographically separated to eliminate the risk of downtime associated with complete site outages
- Stratus® everRun® FT
- Stratus® everRun® HA
- Stratus® SplitSite®
- HP DL 380
- DELL 2650/2850
- EMC, HDS, IBM SAN
- Microsoft® Windows® 2000/2003
- Citrix server farm
The Situation: Serve Customer Needs Online Without Interruption
In the late 1990s, MAN’s commercial vehicles unit decided to implement a new IT system to manage forklift truck operations at its factory in Munich. The system was originally installed on a Novell server, but MAN decided in 2000 to update the entire system by adopting an Endurance 4000 system to help protect the forklift management system against downtime.
Asmir Hrustanbegovic, IT specialist at MAN IT Services, who is in charge of MAN Group’s servers together with his 18-strong team, comments, “Endurance 4000 did all we wanted, so after about three years we decided to upgrade to Stratus everRun FT to further protect our files and applications, and ensure continuous availability of our servers.”
Following the implementation, other IT projects were undertaken to increase efficiency and reliability in other parts of the operation of the commercial vehicles unit. Staff at facilities around the country had been using individual laptops without direct access to company data or applications, and some outlets had been using outdated software. In 2002 MAN IT Services implemented a series of Microsoft Terminal Server/Citrix Farms to handle all updates centrally and improve the efficiency of the unit’s operations across Germany. This effectively established a centralized network that allowed all staff, regardless of their location, to access all key applications and receive regular system updates.
MAN IT Services manages around 220 Microsoft Terminal Server/Citrix Farms in 240 locations. “Being able to manage all our applications centrally from Munich has many advantages. The greatest is that it allows us to install any new software for all outlets at one go, which saves us a lot of time,” Hrustanbegovic says.
However, because of this, it is absolutely crucial that all servers are available at all times, as any unscheduled downtime at the head office in Munich would lead to severe delays during upgrades.
“A disruption to the provision of data and applications would affect every employee, and in the worse case scenario, halt operations altogether. But with everRun FT, we no longer have to worry about downtime.”
MAN IT Services
The Solution: Ensure 24/7/365 Operations with Stratus everRun FT software
The servers supporting the commercial vehicles unit are now protected with Stratus everRun FT software to ensure that applications are accessible 24/7/365—no matter what.
“A disruption to the provision of data and applications would affect every employee, and in the worst case scenario, halt operations altogether. But with everRun FT, we no longer have to worry about downtime,” Hrustanbegovic explains.
The state-of-the-art solution, using everRun FT and Stratus SplitSite, allows two servers to operate simultaneously in 100 percent lock-step. This means that two Windows servers with the same software, applications, and data create a single virtual environment, transparent to the user. If one of the servers fails, no data is lost since the everRun environment will keep running with zero interruption on the remaining server. This creates a business continuity solution and eliminates the need for costly and complex failover processes, specialized applications, or proprietary server hardware.
Stratus SplitSite software provides an additional layer of protection against larger-scale failures and disasters. The two physical servers within the everRun FT environment are geographically separated to eliminate the risk of downtime associated with complete site outages.
“Only if both physical servers failed, we would we be in trouble,” says Hrustanbegovic. “However, this is practically impossible, and extremely unlikely even in theory. We are confident that our applications are continuously available with this technology.”
Depending on the level of importance of an application, MAN IT Services uses a single server, a Windows cluster or a Stratus system, with the most important applications always running on everRun FT.
Hrustanbegovic remarks, “We never put mission-critical applications on normal servers. We use everRun FT to be able to guarantee users constant access to mission-critical data and applications.”
“Should we need to protect more of our mission-critical data and applications against downtime, we will definitely go with everRun.”
MAN IT Services
Results: Elimination of System Failure and Increased Competitive Advantage
The consequences of any unscheduled downtime would not only jeopardize production at the factory in Munich, but also at the unit’s 240 outlets.
“In practice, if an employee was unable to connect to the central network because a server was down, all data on customers and products would become unavailable. This would mean that many of our employees would be unable to do their jobs, and we would have many unhappy customers to deal with,” Hrustanbegovic explains.
Throughout the MAN Group, Hrustanbegovic and his team are responsible for around 1,800 servers and about 30,000 connected computers. Following many years of using Stratus products, the group will implement more everRun systems in the future if necessary.
“Should we need to protect more of our mission-critical data and applications against downtime, we will definitely go with everRun,” Hrustanbegovic concludes.