Volvo Group: Relocating and consolidating infrastructure with minimal downtime.Lift and shift three different data centres into one location? Find out how Interactive tackled this challenge with minimal business disruption.
Volvo Group (‘Volvo’) is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment as well as marine and industrial engines.
Locally, Volvo is Australia’s largest automotive manufacturer, producing more than 60,000 Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks from its operations in Wacol, Brisbane. The company offers a unique value proposition for customers with locally built heavy vehicles that are customised for each buyer and Australia’s unique conditions. Volvo also supports an extensive local supply chain and provides customers with quick access to spare parts and accessories.
- Minimised operational downtime due to data centre unavailability
- Preserved and restored original data centre state after relocation
- Reduced the cost and effort of relocation with best-practice processes
- Enabled in-house team to focus on strategic, value-adding projects
Relocating to be local
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.
However, external factors pushed Volvo to review its local data centre strategy including:
- Relocation of its head office, moving it closer to its assembly plant in Wacol
- Expansion of the Wacol factory
- Ending the 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.
Finding the right combination between flexibility and process
Volvo engaged Interactive’s data centre relocation services to manage and execute the move, alongside Volvo’s own team. Interactive has been the long-standing hardware maintenance support partner for Volvo and, therefore, has a deep understanding of its IT.
This partnership covered everything in Volvos infrastructure, 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.
Allowing for a more strategic future
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 relationship between 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.
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.