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ZFV-Unternehmungen

The gastronomy and hotel group has modernized its IT infrastructure in order to raise the performance and stability of its systems to a new level.

ZFV-Unternehmungen is one of the biggest gastronomy and hotel groups in Switzerland with more than 200 locations. The group’s internal IT department acts as the main linchpin of the group. It links all of the locations together in one network and is responsible for the systems, applications, support and system stability of the solution. In order to improve this further and at the same time increase the efficiency of processes, the IT infrastructure was modernized together with the Green. A new hyper-converged infrastructure, two data hubs and two data locations now form the basis for the further digitalization of the company. Those overseeing the modernization work are happy with the work that has taken place.

“Thanks to Green Datacenter, we are able to provide our IT services at an unprecedented speed and with a stability never achieved beforehand. The two external data hubs have proven that we can press further ahead with digitalization within the company.”

Vassilios Koutsogiannakis, Head of IT at ZFV-Unternehmungen

 

“The new IT infrastructure in place at ZFV was not only modernized, but was also moved closer to the cloud with the switch to Green. This allows us to be able to focus on our core business. At the same time, we have reduced our power consumption and lowered our CO2 emissions by replacing our in-house data center with a more-efficient data center belonging to Green.”

Andreas Hunziker, CEO of ZFV-Unternehmungen

Historically Developed IT as a Challenge

The IT infrastructure of ZFV has grown organically and was operated in its own data center at the company headquarters in Zurich. Only the backup was housed in an external data center. At the end of 2018, the decision was made to replace the storage systems in place with hyper-converged systems and, during this process, also overhaul the housing and networking. Due to the factoring-in of risks, the housing was to no longer be in the company’s data center at its headquarters, as the company wanted to stop using and dismantle the IT equipment installed there. Another factor was that an external, energy-optimized data center was preferred to in-house operation, which can also be attributed to environmental concerns.

 

Wanted: a Second Data Center and a Suitable Partner

In addition to the existing external backup data center, the team headed up by Vassilios Koutsogiannakis, Head of IT, evaluated a suitable second data location. The topic of networking was of crucial importance during this evaluation, as the ZFV data hub was also to be outsourced. The intention was to manage and process all of the data traffic at both external data center locations so as to ensure georedundancy. The Green Datacenter Network Operations team developed an individual solution for ZFV – with a focus always placed on being able to guarantee system stability while at the same time realizing a tangible improvement in performance. The proposal for the new network design with housing at two Green data center locations proved to be satisfactory. In addition, the newly selected data center offered considerably greater energy efficiency levels than other comparable facilities.

 

The Magic Triangle as a Solution

The solution implemented today has been named by ZFV as the Magic Triangle. Two georedundant Green data centers process the entire workload, including the business-critical applications and the payment transactions of all 200 businesses. A redundant network has been created in the form of ring-shaped layer-2 connections. This network still also includes the third data location, i.e. the ZFV headquarters in Zurich; however, there are no longer any systems in operation at the company headquarters. This solution offers the gastronomy and hotel group the greatest-possible system stability, because the 200 businesses are also independently connected to both data hubs in the Green data centers.

 

A Tangibly Better Performance

It is not just the head of the project Vassilios Koutsogiannakis who is satisfied with the result – the employees and heads of department have also benefitted from the new solution. After dismantling its own data center, ZFV was able to reduce it CO2 emissions and significantly increase the performance of its systems. Server tasks that previously took a whole night to perform are now able to be processed within a timeframe of two hours. As a result, the bases on which to make decisions can now be processed multiple times per day. “The latency between the three locations comes is less than three milliseconds," confirmed Vassilios Koutsogiannakis before continuing: “This exceeds our expectations and shows we brought the right people on board and they came up with a perfect design. It really is great!” With the new IT infrastructure, the company is now ideally positioned to move further workloads to the cloud in future. This is an area in which the newly selected data center partner, Green, can also offer a helping hand with its complete cloud ecosystem.


Scope of Services

Network design
Construction and installation of the network
Project management
Rack development
Colocation
Managed service for all network components

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Martin Schlick