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Archives
n°25  |  April   2008
Business cases

• La Poste (France)
• Social Security (France)

• Wehkamp (Netherlands)

Bull guarantees Wehkamp maximum uptime with high availability services

Wehkamp was established as a mail-order firm in 1952. Currently, the company is the leader in online retailing in the Netherlands. Its web shop wehkamp.nl attracts an average of 1.2 million visitors every week, realizing 80 per cent of the sales. As the site is crucially important, downtime must be minimal. If any downtime does occur, it will have financial consequences as well as an impact on the customer satisfaction. Wehkamp has entered into a High Availability 999 contract with Bull to optimize the hardware in the IT environment, guaranteeing an availability of 99.9 per cent per system annually.

Intensive management
Wehkamp’s ICT environment consists of a mainframe with a disaster recovery facility, 50 UNIX servers and approximately 330 Windows servers. “The management and the maintenance of the entire environment are quite complicated,” comments Jan Hoekstra, head of the production management group at Wehkamp. “The management department consisted of a large group of people who needed to keep their knowledge up-to-date. And our company is online on 24/7 basis – another area of special attention for our management, as it meant that the system managers had to work stand-by shifts too. This put a lot of strain on our manpower capacity in particular, even though things very rarely went wrong.

A long-standing relationship
Wehkamp started looking for a partner who could shoulder the burden of the ICT environment. While still orienting, Wehkamp soon talked to Bull’s specialists. Both organizations have been working together since the sixties. Bull offers a broad portfolio of services for monitoring and managing hardware.

Good references
The talks led to a High Availability 999 contract (HA-999). In accordance with these agreements, Bull monitors all Wehkamp’s hardware and its various operating systems from the European Bull HA Centre in Echirolles (France). The availability in the HA999 contract is very high. Annually, an average of only 8.5 hours of downtime for each system is permissible. Bull achieves this by watching the Wehkamp environment proactively, literally 24/7.

Capacity
As Bull continuously monitors the Wehkamp environment and provides monthly reporting on it, they have a precise picture of the IT environment’s status. Hoekstra explains: “Bull analyses all the data, from the hardware, operating systems to the storage infrastructure, and subsequently submits reports. With the aid of this valuable data, they can give advice on capacity issues. If they notice that a certain server is filling up, they will advise us to take measures. In addition, they support us with patch management and upgrades for our operating systems. Due to the sheer scope of our environment, we receive hundreds of patches each month, so we work with Bull to check whether specific changes are actually necessary. We can use this information to save time and money by only making the adjustments that are actually necessary.

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