While Volvo has been manufacturing trucks in Wacol for more than 30 years, it had also been operating from several other locations around Australia, including its head office and main data centre facilities in Sydney.
Three factors necessitated a review of Volvo’s local data centre strategy: a planned relocation of head office close to its assembly plant in Wacol; the expansion of the Wacol factory; and the impending end of lease for its Sydney facilities.
“While we have a global platform of distributed data centres to support our main business, our local data centre facilities are critical to our Australian operations,” explained Michael Voznessenski, Head of Digital and IT at Volvo Group Australia. “If the data centre is not available, we couldn’t operate locally; we can’t build or service a truck, we can’t sell a part, we can’t do anything.”
To meet the Group’s global standards for IT resiliency, Volvo needed its infrastructure to be hosted in a Tier 3+ standards data centre, with redundancy provided by a secondary data centre on-site. The decision was made to “lift and shift” its current equipment (including some upgrades and replacements) from three different locations in Sydney and Brisbane. This infrastructure could then be consolidated in Interactive’s suite in the Polaris data centre, in the nearby suburb of Springfield.
"Interactive has the right combination of flexibility and processes. The human touch that Interactive provides has been their trademark from day one."
Volvo engaged Interactive’s data centre relocation services to manage and execute the move, alongside Volvo’s own team. Interactive has been providing Volvo with hardware maintenance services since 2002.
This partnership covered everything from the access layer to the core network, including security, networking, storage, server and some UPS equipment.
For Michael, the decision to ask Interactive to assist with the relocation was easy to make. “Interactive has the right combination of flexibility and processes. The human touch that Interactive provides has been their trademark from day one. Interactive has always focused on fixing any issue first, then working out any maintenance contract details later.”
The project was tackled in three phases to minimise risk and operational downtime. In the first phase, business-critical servers on-site in Sydney were first backed up and powered down by Volvo’s engineers. These were then wrapped and shipped by air overnight and reinstalled in dedicated racks in the Polaris data centre. A similar process followed for critical equipment being relocated from Wacol to the Polaris data centre. In the third phase, the remaining hardware on-site in Sydney, plus additional servers hosted in a Sydney data centre were shipped overnight and reinstalled at Polaris.
All relocated and upgraded equipment was reinstalled to its pre-existing state and condition, with full services restored with all downtime minimised to optimal levels. Interactive is continuing to provide hardware maintenance services on the equipment in the Polaris data centre. Interactive’s colocation services also include a “remote hands” service, with routine or ad hoc tasks performed by Interactive’s on-site engineers.
For Michael, working with Interactive on the relocation project was completely seamless. “I thought we did it all ourselves!” he said jokingly. “We were very pleased to go with the decision of using Interactive for our data centre relocation – it’s been a long-standing and very good working relationshipbetween our two organisations.”
Interactive’s “remote hands” and hardware maintenance services are saving Volvo IT staff considerable time by not having to travel to the Polaris data centre for routine activities like rebooting a server. This is giving Volvo the opportunity to focus on more strategic, value-adding tasks. “Flexibility is a big plus at Interactive. We have specific contacts and a personal service with Interactive. This is backed up by a normal request process which is fast, even if it is short notice, and there are key Interactive guys at the Polaris site who respond quickly to our questions,” said Michael.
In August 2018, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk opened Volvo’s new, state-of-the-art national headquarters in Wacol, together with its expanded manufacturing facilities. Volvo now enjoys peace-of-mind with Interactive’s support and the benefits of better efficiencies and management with its consolidated data centre infrastructure. LAN-speed connections between Polaris and Wacol are ensuring greater performance and responsiveness for its business-critical operations.
Over time, Volvo expects to see further consolidation and reductions of its hardware infrastructure, in line with global technology trends. “While it is hard in these times to make some sort of commitment for the future, we always know where to find Interactive to help us,” concluded Michael.