Fokker Aerostructures

Secure and convenient data management was essential to Fokker Aerostructures

Fokker Aerostructures is a specialist in the design, development and production of lightweight aerostructures and a pioneer in the application of new materials such as Glare® and thermoplastic composites for the aerospace industry.

The business designs and produces complete tailpieces and moving wing parts for commercial and military aeroplanes on behalf of clients such as Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin. With the aim of contributing to the technological development of new materials which offer economic and technological advantages in terms of costs and weight, Fokker Aerostructures forms innovative working networks with its clients, suppliers and research institutes and its own specialised professionals at many branches including in the Netherlands, Romania, the USA and most recently Mexico. Fokker Aerostructures is a division of Fokker Technologies Holding B.V.

To store unstructured data at its branches Fokker Aerostructures used to use various DAS, NAS and SAN solutions, backed-up by tapes. Given the growth of data within the organisation, in 2005 the company decided to search for another solution, which took the form of various new storage systems.

“When we began to implement this solution the expectation was that the quantity of data would grow by about 50 to 60 per cent a year,” explains Hans Kuiper, Chair IT Council at Fokker Aerostructures, “But it rapidly turned out to be between 100 and 120 per cent! This rapid growth led us to the conclusion that we not only needed to replace the solution, but we also had to choose a storage concept that could cope with this development in the future as well.” 

In order to make an intelligent choice, Fokker Aerostructures decided to scrutinise its existing storage environment. “It consisted of a large number of different file servers, with the data distributed across various places within our infrastructure,” says Henk Smit, Director Information Management at Fokker Aerostructures. “This meant supervision was inadequate. So we wanted to move to a central solution that would give us clarity about data management throughout the entire organisation.”

In 2006 Fokker Aerostructures started its selection process by comparing different storage solutions. Key requirements for the solution were its reliability and robustness, but above all flexibility; for an organisation where innovation plays an important part, a rapidly scalable storage environment is crucial. 

“Developments within the aviation industry take place at a frantic pace,” explains Hans Kuiper. “This ensures that our lightweight aerostructures (aircraft parts) are continually innovative and the supporting data within Fokker Aerostructures can continue to grow rapidly. Besides a flexible storage environment, we constantly need new technologies to facilitate this data growth. It’s impossible to have the knowledge necessary for this in-house, so a specialised supplier is needed. Therefore we were not just looking for a reliable and flexible solution, but above all for a supplier who can routinely provide us with expert advice and support.”

During the selection process one of the solutions stood out for Fokker Aerostructures – PROACT.

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