Höganäs Borgestad has operations in multiple countries. To raise efficiency and maintain exceptional quality, the organization set out to create a cross-group, centralized IT infrastructure.
Working with Atea Sverige AB, Höganäs Borgestad deployed IBM FlashSystem storage to support a new virtualized IT landscape, addressing the data demands of a diverse range of applications.
Doubledstorage performance, helping Höganäs Borgestad respond faster to customers
90% cost savingcompared to competing offerings with equivalent performance
2x growthin company size could be accommodated by existing storage landscape
Business challenge story
Refractory materials are resistant to decomposition by heat, pressure, and chemical attack, and retain their strength and form at high temperatures. Industries including steel production and cement manufacturing depend on meticulously produced refractory materials to build production lines that can withstand extreme conditions and keep workers safe. As a result, for organizations such as Höganäs Borgestad, which designs, creates, and delivers refractory solutions, there is no room for error.
Jonas Dahlgren, CIO at Höganäs Borgestad, explains, “Developing refractory materials is an art that takes in a range of factors such as material composition, grain size, density, thermal conductivity, permeability, abrasion resistance and thermal expansion. Over the last two centuries, Höganäs Borgestad has refined its expertise in this area to build up a customer base in more than 70 countries.”
About two years ago, Höganäs Borgestad made the strategic decision to merge all the companies within its group under one common brand—a move that would help it communicate to customers more clearly and unlock new internal efficiencies. As part of this transformation, the organization began consolidating the IT systems used by operations in different countries.
“We wanted to make it easier for teams in five different countries to collaborate by providing centralized IT,” comments Dahlgren. “We also saw an opportunity to reduce costs and complexity. To achieve these goals, we faced some challenges. For example, in Norway, we were using a cloud ERP service, while in other countries we had various different on-premises ERP systems. To bring them all together on one platform, we had to build a versatile, high-performance IT infrastructure.”
Höganäs Borgestad was determined to find a technology solution that would meet not only its current requirements, but also its future needs. Dahlgren elaborates, “It was important to us that any new systems we bought were easy to scale, as we’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Performance and stability were also top of our priority list.”
Powering global operations
To support the IT operations of its new consolidated group structure, Höganäs Borgestad worked with IBM Business Partner Atea Sverige AB to create a new virtualized datacenter. As a core component of its new infrastructure, the organization chose to deploy IBM FlashSystem 5000 storage technology.
“We’ve used IBM Storage in the past, and its stability has blown us away,” says Dahlgren. “We knew we needed that same degree of robustness to enable the next phase of our transformation. Atea presented the best proposal, and we knew that they have the skills to deliver on every promise they make.”
With help from Atea, Höganäs Borgestad implemented its new cross-group infrastructure with no impact on operations. The companies worked together to overcome minor obstacles along the way, as Dahlgren recalls: “Soon after the initial installation, we found that we needed to switch the SAS cards in our servers to work with the new storage. Atea helped us rectify the issue fast and, because we set up our new environment in parallel with our legacy systems, it didn’t affect the business.”
Höganäs Borgestad now relies on the IBM FlashSystem storage to support a diverse IT environment including business-critical ERP applications, Microsoft SQL Server databases and a large Citrix landscape. The organization is also exploring hybrid cloud capabilities, starting with a roll-out of Office 365.
“A key benefit of the IBM FlashSystem 5000 is that it is cloud-ready,” comments Dahlgren. “It’s flexible enough to accommodate the requirements of different Höganäs Borgestad companies, but it’s also a single platform for innovation. We see the move to hybrid cloud as inevitable, so it’s a real advantage that IBM FlashSystem technology is designed to be connected to the cloud.”
Elevating the business to new heights
Höganäs Borgestad’s IT team noticed the effect of IBM FlashSystem technology on performance immediately. Dahlgren says, “Our technicians can now complete tasks such as creating new virtual machines and taking snapshots at least twice as fast as before. For example, it used to take 12 minutes to run a server update; it now takes just five minutes, which is a saving of 58 percent. IBM FlashSystem 5000 provides the same performance as systems from other vendors that are ten times the price! It packs a lot of punch into a small footprint.”
Across the group’s operations, employees are taking advantage of shorter response times to provide better levels of service to customers. Dahlgren adds, “FlashSystem provides access to data twice as fast as before, which means business users can react sooner to customer requests. By getting high-quality refractory solutions to customers quickly, we contribute to their competitive edge, which keeps them coming back to us.”
By consolidating to IBM FlashSystem storage, Höganäs Borgestad has streamlined IT management significantly. The organization’s IT team takes advantage of built-in monitoring tools including IBM Storage Insights to save time and optimize use of resources.
“IBM FlashSystem storage is the definition of ‘set it and forget it’!” says Dahlgren. “We haven’t needed to touch the system in five months. It gives us great peace of mind to know that IBM is keeping an eye on the platform remotely too—for example, we got a call one Saturday night warning us that there might be a potential issue with one of our disks. That allowed us to take proactive measures to prevent any impact on the business.”
Using IBM technology, Höganäs Borgestad has achieved its goal of building cost-effective, high-performance IT infrastructure for its worldwide operations. Since all IBM FlashSystem offerings are built on a common software storage platform, IBM Spectrum® Virtualize, the company can scale its storage landscape easily and cost-effectively, enabling it to move fast on growth opportunities.
Dahlgren concludes, “IBM FlashSystem storage removes limits to our company’s growth—we could expand to twice our current size, and the storage infrastructure would cope. Moreover, the total cost of ownership is less than our previous storage platform, and we get more performance and functionality. FlashSystem is the right foundation for the future of Höganäs Borgestad.”
Höganäs Borgestad AB
Höganäs Borgestad AB (external link) is a leading developer, manufacturer and provider of refractory products, installations, and turnkey solutions. Headquartered in Sweden, the Höganäs Borgestad group also has operations in Norway and Finland and sales offices in Cyprus and Malaysia.
Take the next step
To learn about the latest IBM FlashSystem offers, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit: /flashoffer
Atea Sverige AB creates world-class IT infrastructure for its clients, helping to lay the foundations for a smarter and more innovative Sweden. To learn more about Atea, visit: atea.se