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Porsche Informatik strengthens digital leadership with VMware

Porsche Informatik strengthens digital leadership with VMware

Case StudiesDigital TransformationEuropeFacilities & ServersOperations & SystemsTop StoriesTransport
Peter Friedwagner, Head of Infrastructure and Common Platforms at Porsche Informatik

Porsche Informatik has boosted its security, accelerated time-to-market for products and increased IT efficiency through automation after deploying VMware’s data centre solutions.

Porsche Informatik, a subsidiary of Porsche Holding and part of the Volkswagen Group, has strengthened its market position as a leader among the IT platforms of automotive manufacturers after deploying VMware solutions.

The company has been under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group since March 2011, developing leading software solutions for the future of mobility.

It is responsible for developing and operating internal IT applications – from garage services and online car configurators to the logistical supply of spare parts. The company’s products – 160 complex software solutions – must be available 24/7 for users in 27 countries on four continents.

Its tailor-made applications create a clear competitive advantage for car dealerships, importers and financial service providers who rely on Porsche IT systems worldwide.

To face the latest digital challenges in the automotive industry, Porsche Informatik’s IT infrastructure needed updating. Porsche Informatik chose to modernise its data centre with long-term partner VMware.

Porsche Informatik has invested in a range of VMware solutions to virtualise its compute, storage and network resources and to form the foundation to support its Digital transformation.

By underpinning its IT infrastructure with a Software-Defined Data Center, it has boosted security, accelerated time-to-market for its products and increased IT efficiency through automation.

The challenge

Describing the market context, Peter Friedwagner, Head of Infrastructure and Common Platforms at Porsche Informatik, said: “E-drive, connected cars and autonomous driving: all new developments in the automotive industry increasingly rely on digital know-how – with growing pressure to succeed on Porsche Informatik software solutions.”

For this reason, internal processes needed to undergo a revision. From the IT management point of view, time to market for software products took too long.

Provisioning time of IT resources for software developers in the business units was not ideal, waiting times had to be reduced in order to support and optimise solutions that are active in 27 countries.

IT security and availiabilty was another urgent priority on the agenda of Peter Friedwagner’s team. The company infrastructure needed to maintain the highest possible security and availability standards.

Data centre downtime would be a disaster: potential buyers would not be able to configure cars online and delivery of spare parts would be delayed.

“Customers want to bring their car to service and it cannot be carried out due to a system outage – definitely a worst-case scenario,” explained Friedwagner.

That’s why the team wanted to address the queries: How to improve infrastructure reliability? How to reduce downtimes to an absolute minimum?

In the era of digitalisation and increasing complexity, software is the key element to drive innovation, creating new challenges for Porsche Informatik. The company was looking for a solution to handle larger capacity and additional IT requirements with the same number of IT employees.

Within just four months, a new VMware SDDC platform with computing, storage and network virtualisation was implemented to meet the requirements of the future.

Existing products from the old platform were brought up and running. In phase two and three with a duration of 12 months further components were migrated into the system.

With VMware vRealize Automation, time-to-market was significantly reduced. The cloud automation tool provides real-time test systems for internal and external developers. Infrastructure costs and manpower can be saved due to fewer tickets to IT administrators, fewer emails back and forth and shorter waiting times.

Performance benefits of VMware’s SDDC were immediately visible.

With the new solutions in place, Porsche Informatik’s software developers are benefiting from real-time test systems which in turn has accelerated time-to-market for the company’s software products.

The increased automation of complex IT tasks has optimised the efficiency of service provisioning, operational management and IT agility.

With security a priority, the company is using NSX Data Center to protect its IT infrastructure. With micro-segmentation enabled by NSX, Porsche Informatik can provide each virtual machine with its own firewall and hence prevent the lateral spread of malware.

“As a leading automotive retail group, we are the target of criminal hackers. That’s why the innovative firewall concept as part of the VMware project was so important for us,” said Lisa Siegesleitner, Security Specialist at Porsche Informatik.

The corresponding firewall rules were defined by VMware vRealize Network Insight providing detailed, graphically well-prepared analyses for the entire network.

vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator increase efficiency by automating complex IT tasks and optimizing efficiency of service provisioning, operational management and IT agility.

Johannes Strasser, Virtualization Architect at Porsche Informatik, added: “In order to meet the performance requirements and keep downtimes to a minimum, Porsche Informatik relies on the best and most flexible storage solution currently available based on hyper-converged infrastructures, VMware vSAN. This makes it possible to respond individually to customer requirements and meet Service Level Agreements (SLA).

“In addition, vSAN enables an autonomous disaster concept across different data centre locations.”

Results and impact

The aim of the project has been to provide a strong foundation for Porsche Informatik’s software developers and employees in order to drive digitalisation of the automotive industry. With its georedundant structure, VMware’s solutions ensure availability of processing power at both locations.

Bottlenecks have been eliminated and a high-performance and agile infrastructure is available 24/7. Increased system efficiency through automated processes balances growing demand for new software solutions.

With its advanced and smart solutions, Porsche Informatik is supporting Porsche Holding in maintaining its leading and progressive position in the automotive retail business. Investing in this new infrastructure means investing in new technologies to expand competitive advantage.

This modernisation project created a strong foundation for container as a service, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data or Virtual Reality.

Taking stock of the entire VMware project, Friedwagner said: “In the long term, our main concern is to reduce complexity – and VMware solutions fit perfectly due to their high degree of integration. No other company was able to offer us this technological advantage.”

He added: “VMware’s solutions are the engine powering our infrastructure.”

Looking ahead

Mega trends in the automotive industry such as e-drive, sharing economy, connected cars and progressing digitalisation require a flexible and reliable infrastructure foundation at Porsche Informatik.

The Software-Defined Data Center is an important step in this direction. Further topics Peter Friedwagner and his team want to consider in the future are increase usage of container platforms and development of Porsche IT products in co-creation with customers.

From an internal point of view Porsche Informatik wants to enhance its working culture with product-oriented, self-responsible team structures and innovative working environments.

Porsche Informatik has worked with VMware for 15 years. It has created a software-defined Data Center with VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, VMware NSX Data Center, VMware vRealize Suite, VMware vRealize Network Insight and VMware vRealize Orchestrator.

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