"We don’t just lease our SPARC Enterprise Server, but also software and services. This eases the strain on our budget and gives us some financial leeway. We can spread out the total amount over three years and purchase the systems at the end of the lease contract for a reasonable price"
Harald Nischan, Head of Contract Management / IT, BKK Salzgitter
BKK Salzgitter, a company-related health insurance fund, is a self-administrated public corporation with its origins in the company Salzgitter AG. Today, BKK Salzgitter insures the employees – and their family members – of around 100 companies predominantly based in Lower Saxony, Germany. BKK Salzgitter is the only remaining company health insurance fund to run the most important specialist application ISKV on its own IT infrastructure.
In a health insurance fund, there is a particular emphasis on the responsible handling of the insurants’ money. So it makes sense to keep annual IT procurement costs as low as possible too. BKK Salzgitter was therefore looking for an IT provider with an innovative financing concept for acquiring new Solaris servers, a modern storage infrastructure and a backup system. Software and services were also to be financed.
To secure its data center even further, BKK Salzgitter decided to set up a second location in a different fire zone on the company premises. Two SPARC Enterprise M4000 Servers are now connected by a fiber-optic network. To make sure that all data is stored and secured centrally, each data center has its own ETERNUS DX60 storage system, which is linked with an ETERNUS LT tape library. This is financed by a lease contrast through Fujitsu Financial Services in cooperation with Siemens Finance & Leasing GmbH.
Health insurance funds hold very personal information about their members and patients that requires particular protection. Furthermore, the electronic exchange of data with employers, service providers and various authorities is playing an ever greater role. For this purpose, BKK Salzgitter uses the ISKV Basis industry solution from BITMARCK Service GmbH. This is used to manage the contributions and benefits of its more than 40,000 members and 22,300 additionally insured family members.
To cope with this quantity of data, a SPARC Enterprise M4000 Server is now running with the Solaris 10 operating system in the BKK Salzgitter productive data center. After five years, the previous Solaris system no longer met the company‘s needs. “The M4000 servers really boosted our performance,“ emphasizes Thorsten Skiba, IT/Organization Consultant at BKK Salzgitter. “The speed of the batch runs, for example, has increased tenfold in some cases.“
The centralized storage runs via a new ETERNUS DX60, a highly scalable Fujitsu disk storage system with redundant components and RAID protection. This centralization simplifies the infrastructure; while BKK Salzgitter relied on several standalone solutions in the past, “today we use just one system that allows us to secure everything – from the SQL and Informix databases to Solaris and Windows data,“ explains Thorsten Skiba. Another (already available) ETERNUS LT60 tape library is used in the productive data center to ensure that the data is saved in duplicate and on different media.
To make the data storage process as efficient as possible, BKK Salzgitter uses CommVault Simpana which enables backup and restore to be managed across platforms. The Simpana interface provides a very good overview of all resources and reduces administrative outlay through a high degree of automation.
High availability is ensured by a mirrored data center in a building next to BKK‘s headquarters that also contains all hardware components, the only difference being a smaller tape library, the ETERNUS LT20, which stores the data to tape.
This high-availability infrastructure would not have been possible without intelligent financing. “We are a true exception among company health insurance funds in that we provide our own data center,“ says Thorsten Skiba. “This fits into our budget only because we have traditionally procured new components through lease contracts.“ In the case of BKK Salzgitter, this financial solution – known as an “operating lease“ – runs for 36 months, meaning that the purchase price is spread out over three financial years. “It was great to hear that we could pay for Fujitsu‘s software and services via a lease contract as we do for hardware,“ explains Thorsten Skiba. “After all, software is a major cost factor, particularly in the Solaris environment.“
The flexibility of this financing is another key benefit. BKK Salzgitter could return the systems to Fujitsu at any time or even purchase them in full before the end of the contract. “The most sensible option for us is to purchase the entire IT environment at the end of the three years at the reasonable residual cost,“ states Skiba.
The new high-availability environment has helped to sustain BKK Salzgitter‘s budget at all levels, and the energy costs in its data center are a third lower than before. As well as the favorable financing, the good preparations made by Fujitsu‘s experts have also had a positive impact, as Thorsten Skiba confirms:
“Fujitsu has planned this project very well, allowing us to run our data center ourselves with minimal IT staff. The advice provided by Fujitsu Financial Services was also more than satisfactory. We are now benefiting from very reasonable financing that has allowed us, as a company health insurance fund, to run our own high-availability environment. After purchasing the systems at the end of the contract, we will certainly use the environment for another two years – so in fact, the costs would be spread over five years.“
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