German Manufacturer Turns to IBM to Energize its Infrastructure

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Paint giant, Sto, beefs up backend with IBM Power Systems, Storwize, SVC, to battle Big Data

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Armonk, N.Y. - 02 Apr 2014: German insulation and paint manufacturer, Sto SE & Co. KGaA , has turned to IBM (NYSE: IBM) systems and storage to energize its IT infrastructure and help it better battle growing data volumes and support the company’s aggressive growth plans.

Since its founding 60 years ago, Sto has deployed state of the art technology to design and support its vast portfolio of paints, plasters, renders/stuccos and insulation systems. When the company realized the technologies it put in place only two years earlier would not be able to keep pace with the projected data volumes, it moved swiftly to update the infrastructure with advanced IBM Smarter Storage and Power Systems.

“The growth of the data is enormous,” said Dr. Andreas Rebetzky, CIO, Sto. “[When] we took a photograph of a house with a new render 10 years ago, or five years ago, it was a 2MB picture. Now it’s a 100MB picture.”

Managing incoming data is only part of Sto’s challenge. The company and its 4,700 employees around the globe are generating swelling amounts of data, while client requests and transactions continue to pour in.

For example, Sto manages “recipes,” or formulas, for more than 11 million paint colors, all of which can be ordered online and fulfilled, any time, day or night. And as customer orders top five million a year, Sto’s infrastructure must be able to respond immediately - as well as reliably - with the most accurate information. According to Rebetzky, the new solution is already paying off, with customer response times falling by 50 percent and availability increasing to 24/7, he said.

As its sales become increasingly reliant on the systems, Sto, not unlike a growing number of businesses around the world, is aligning the performance of its infrastructure to business goals. “Our CEO wants to grow by seven percent,” Rebetzky said. “So, we are faced with the growth of sales orders, a [growing] amount of data, and we needed to implement a solution that fits to this growth rate in the future.”

To make that happen, Sto replaced its existing server base with four IBM Power 750s running IBM AIX and DB2 and its suite of SAP applications. Sto then integrated two high-performance IBM DS8870 storage systems and two Storwize V7000s. The entire storage architecture is virtualized through the IBM SAN Volume Controller for provisioning and scalability, and backed up to the high-speed IBM TS3500 tape library through Tivoli Storage Manager and IBM FlashCopy.

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