"The PRIMERGY BX900 Blade System has saved us from using multiple servers. The administration process has also been hugely simplified, which is a great benefit to us as a property business"
Michael Ratz, Head of IT,Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Velbert mbH
The city of Velbert is situated in the heart of North-Rhine Westphalia between the Ruhr, Düsseldorf and Wuppertal. WOBAU Velbert (Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Velbert mbH) is the largest residential construction company in this city of 83,000 people. It owns around 2,800 homes and manages a further 1,000 for various third parties. As a local housing company, WOBAU sees itself as an ambassador for the city of Velbert, and a campaigner for social housing. WOBAU’s 50 years of experience in support and management are a major benefit for the private owners’ associations and landlords with whom it works. The company also sells some properties and land to help families fulfill their dream of owning their own home.
IT always plays a large role in a modern residential building company. WOBAU Velbert works with Aareon’s Wodis Sigma ERP system. “This software is optimized for our business and is very complex and comprehensive,” explains Michael Ratz, Head of IT and Project Management for WOBAU. “We use many of this software’s modules, for example book-keeping for our finances and rent, maintenance and modernization. The performance of our current IT environment was simply no longer sufficient.” The company also wanted to improve security and accessibility.
The Fujitsu SELECT Expert Partner Oberberg-Online Informationssysteme GmbH was able to deliver the best solution. The system house, based in Gummersbach, places great value on scalability and recommended a large PRIMERGY BX900 Blade System, an ETERNUS DX90 as a fast storage resource with an ETERNUS LT40 as a magnetic tape backup solution. WOBAU‘s 40 employees will also use Fujitsu hardware - ESPRIMO P400 PCs with large, 23 inch screens.
AAs WOBAU Velbert does not have a large in-house IT department, it was important to find a service provider that could offer all-round support. The new environment also needed to be as low-maintenance and as easy to use as possible. A Blade System was the obvious choice. The PRIMERGY BX900 gives WOBAU a kind of mini data center ’in a box’ as up to 18 Server Blades can be slotted into one rack. “It‘s so easy, we can even expand it ourselves,“ explains Michael Ratz. “But the best feature, from our point of view, was the consolidation effect. Instead of seven individual servers, we now have one large Blade System with five Server Blades. It saves so much space and energy.“
Oberberg-Online will monitor and carry out maintenance on the WOBAU data center in Velbert from 30 km (19 miles) away in Gummersbach. “WOBAU‘s new PRIMERGY BX900 Blade System will be sufficient for at least five years,“ emphasized Jörg Wegner, Sales Account Manager for Oberberg-Online. “Administration time has dramatically decreased; if they need to expand their resources, we just have to add a new Blade. It takes no more than 30 minutes, and is cheaper than buying a new stand-alone server.“
The same is true for storage. The new, scalable ETERNUS DX90 storage system has eliminated the need for multiple smaller systems. To increase security, the ETERNUS system mirrors all of the data. If a hard drive fails, this data can be restored quickly. All data is also recorded onto magnetic tape as part of a permanent backup process.
The improved stability and performance benefits both WOBAU‘s employees and their customers. Alongside their colleagues in the center, other employees in the four management offices in the residential areas and the lettings agency in the city are accessing the data center, so that they can all work with Wodis. This software is the central application for WOBAU Velbert. Its speed and security saves the customers time and increases employee satisfaction. “As everything is now so stable and efficient, we can now manage larger building projects much more easily,“ says Michael Ratz. “We will continue to invest in the redevelopment of our property portfolio. Our new IT systems will support us fantastically in this respect.“ WOBAU has even invested in a thermal imaging camera to help them identify weak points in houses more easily. They can then add more insulation to points where too much heat is escaping, meaning energy savings for the tenant. “Analyzing the enormous amount of image data is not a problem thanks to the faster computers.“ Michael Ratz explains the extent to which the new IT environment has improved the business:
„Order processing and detailed bids are now running much faster. The new environment has given us a definite performance boost; the speed of our systems has more than doubled. Our energy costs have decreased by around 50% so that the total energy requirements for our IT systems can be met just by the solar panels on the roof.“
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