Katoen Natie’s ICT section is managed by Sonja NV, a separate company within the Katoen Natie group. There are 60 staff beavering away here every day to ensure the continuous stream of data transfers which support Katoen Natie’s logistic processes. Sonja NV is responsible for the development of operational applications for three areas: the various business units, infrastructure and services and, finally, telecommunications and networking.
Given the extensive nature of Katoen Natie’s network, the ICT department is an essential component of all its logistics activities. Such a business-critical environment requires reliable data storage and efficient backup. Both are vital to the company’s continuous functioning worldwide.
A few years ago, Katoen Natie experienced a problem with backup. Up until 2008, the company had only 6 data centres, all based in different locations. But then the explosive growth of data meant that the existing capacity became inadequate. In addition, the data backup arrangements were due a thorough overhaul. What was essential, in that respect, was the development of a reliable disaster recovery site which could be managed centrally and where all the data could be replicated.
Given the extensive nature of Katoen Natie’s network, it was important to ensure that all the data was replicated safely to the central backup location. When expanding its data centre infrastructure, it was important to ensure that such replication could be achieved from various remote locations without a hitch. In September 2008, Katoen Natie started looking for a solution to expand and optimise its infrastructure and came across PROACT. “During our search, we considered several possible options; we were primarily looking for an answer to our backup problems,” says Frank Brugge, ICT Manager at Katoen Natie. “During our dialogue with PROACT we became increasingly confident that the solution they were able to offer us, especially as regards the technology needed to support the new environment, was a highly attractive one.
PROACT’s solution was based on a DataDomain environment. We were drawn to this technology because it allowed us to easily expand our capacity and because of its great compression and replication capabilities. Moreover, this solution yielded a high ROI over a relatively short period. All of these factors swayed us towards this particular solution.”
Disaster recovery also fitted perfectly into this picture. The Data Domain technology solution did not just allow the storage of data in remote locations; thanks to the optimal replication technology, this data could reliably and efficiently be accommodated in the central data centre location in Kallo. This provided Katoen Natie with a backup infrastructure within a secure environment.
Katoen Natie’s data centre network was gradually expanded and capacity increased from 6 to 13 locations. It was decided that the central point within the network would be the Kallo location, near the port of Antwerp. It is not just local data which is stored here, but all the data from the remote sites. The data centre in Kallo therefore acted as a disaster recovery site to which all data was replicated. Katoen Natie has IT-manned remote locations in a total of 7 different countries.
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