With sales centers and factories distributed around the globe, Kraus & Naimer has to be able to rely on fast and reliable data processing capacity. Until a few years ago, each of the company’s six plants was equipped with a VAX system dedicated to production control. Additionally, each of its 10 sales locations used a VAX system to run their ERP and financial applications. There were 17 systems in all, including several VAX 4000-200, VAX 4000-105A, and MicroVAX 3400 and 3100, as well as one VAX 6310, all of which ran the VMS 5.5.2 operating system.
“Our problem was that the systems were too old. Maintenance costs increased significantly every year. Obtaining hardware support was time-consuming and difficult, because HP couldn’t always provide the necessary spare parts,” said Oliver Sauter, IT manager for Kraus & Naimer. Furthermore, it was clear that the existing IT environment would soon not be able to keep up with growing demand. The problem was that the capacity of the VAX systems could not be expanded in the existing environment.
The company then decided to move to a SAP-based ERP and financial system, a transition that would take several years. In the meantime, a stable temporary solution had to be found quickly. “It was important for us to ensure the reliability of our systems for the next few years without too much effort,” said Robert Signer, systems manager and developer at Kraus & Naimer. The plan was to consolidate most of the company’s IT systems in its Liechtenstein data center, so as to lower administrative costs. With that objective in mind, Signer investigated virtualization solutions, and found Stromasys’s Charon-VAX.